Purdue students react to university's TikTok block on its Wi-Fi network

Purdue students react
Posted at 11:15 PM, Mar 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-31 11:35:38-04

WEST LAFAYETTE — It just got much harder for some Purdue University students to scroll through their favorite app.

Purdue University announced Wednesday that TikTok is now blocked from the university’s WiFi network.

“Unban it in our dorms at the very least. Please," Economics major Zaina Bwaheed said.

She and her friend Jenna Bruns spend their evenings sending each other TikTok videos back and forth.

“All the time. Pretty much all the time," Bwaheed said.

People on the campus can still access TikTok on non-university WiFi or by using cellular data.

However, the two Boilermakers say it’s still an inconvenience.

“In our dorms, let us watch whatever we want. Not everyone has unlimited data and not everyone can afford it so it’s kinda rude," Bwaheed said.

Purdue says that this decision was due to concerns about cybersecurity risks to user data privacy, threats to national security and algorithmic censorship of free speech.

The block comes one week after TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, testified on Capitol Hill about the app’s ability to keep user data safe.

“Right now, I feel that the world is not just on land with weapons, it’s with data as well," graduate student Anuz said.

Anuz and his friend Mehei study Information Technology and agree with the university’s decision.

“I think they took a good step because I've personally taken a few courses in the cybersecurity field and I see how unreliable systems are," Mehei said.

TikTok is banned in their home country, so this is nothing new to them.

“Back in India, we have banned TikTok. The reason is because we have a geopolitical dispute with China. The move was mostly welcomed by the Indians. If the government feels that there are some issues related to security, in respect to your data or anything, I feel that we should support it.”

Sebastian Welch is always on the app.

“I frequently use it, a little too much maybe," Welch said.

But he understands why the university made the decision.

"I honestly don't mind if it's for the reasons they say they're doing it. The more secure the better. So, at this moment, I think it's a good thing," Welch said.

WRTV reached out to Purdue to ask how this ban will impact clubs or organizations with TikTok accounts.

Any organization that receives central resources from a university operating budget can no longer have a TikTok account.

Student organizations that are self-supported have the discretion to follow this policy or not.