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UCF bans TikTok and WeChat, joining other Florida universities

An image of TikTok app on a smartphone
Ivan Radic
Creative Commons
Social media app TikTok has recieved growing scrutiny over concerns of users' data privacy

The University of Central Florida is banning some social media apps from its network and devices, citing concerns over privacy and data security.

The platforms include TikTok and WeChat, along with other apps and their subsidiaries which have ties to Russia and China.

The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s universities, issued an emergency regulation March 29 banning the apps. The University of Florida, University of South Florida, Florida International University and others have followed suit.

Experts have raised concerns that foreign governments could possibly use certain social media apps to collect users’ data. TikTok faced congressional scrutiny over growing data privacy concerns. In an email to students and staff, UCF pointed to the possibility that foreign governments could use the apps, websites and platforms to collect user data, exert influence over the recommendation algorithms of the platforms, and compromise devices.

UCF says the platforms will no longer be accessible via the university’s network and must be deleted from university-owned devices.

The measure bans the following platforms:

  • Kaspersky
  • VKontakte
  • Tencent QQ
  • TikTok
  • WeChat
  • Any subsidiary or affiliate of an entity listed above
Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."
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