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Purdue University Blocks TikTok on Campus Wi-Fi

The Purdue University system this week joined many other higher-ed institutions in blocking access to the TikTok app and website, based on a Purdue IT security audit and the terms of the app's user agreements.

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(TNS) — As of this week, students at Purdue University Northwest can no longer scroll through TikTok on campus Wi-Fi to kill time between classes.

In the midst of a tense national debate around the Chinese-owned social media, the Purdue University system has blocked the app and website on campus Wi-Fi, including on its campuses in Hammond and Westville.

"As a next step to address concerns about cybersecurity risks to user data privacy, algorithmic censorship of free speech, and threats to national security — all as recognized by the U.S. federal government — Purdue has begun blocking access to and the usage of the TikTok mobile app across Purdue networks," Trevor Peters, spokesperson for Purdue University, wrote in an emailed statement to The Times. "This step is based on TikTok's overly invasive privacy and use agreements that allow for significant access to phone data (such as keystrokes, geolocation and contacts) and the need, based on a Purdue IT security audit, to provide further protection for Purdue University systems. This move does not cover non-Purdue cellular, home or public Wi-Fi."

Even before blocking it on campus Wi-Fi, Purdue had already taken steps against the popular social media platform. In January, Purdue banned the use of the app on university-owned devices and deleted all accounts affiliated with the university.

This comes days after congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., from both major political parties held an intense hearing where they grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew over concerns about China's influence over the social media, users' privacy and content that is harmful to children. The hearing was the culmination of months of criticisms from national political leaders about the social media, many of whom are calling for a nationwide ban.

Chew denied many of the Congress members' claims and insisted that TikTok does not spy on U.S. users, collaborate with the Chinese government or do anything that isn't standard among U.S. social media companies.

©2023 The Times (Munster, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.