Banning TikTok hurts higher education

through winter As a holiday, 16 US states — including Georgia and Texas — have banned the popular short-form video app TikTok in the work context, specifically on any device provided by their employer. Governors from Texas to New Hampshire issued total bans on applications on “state IT infrastructure.” In South Dakota and Georgia, the governing body of higher education ordered to comply with their governor’s orders on all college and university devices. Other states have gone as far as to ban the use of TikTok when connected to the school’s Wi-Fi.

concerns about TikTok in relation to the app’s parent company, Chinese-owned ByteDance. The worry is that the Chinese government will force ByteDance to hand over US TikTok data or force it to manipulate its already highly customized algorithm to push divisive content. Accordingly, former President Donald Trump tried to ban this application in 2020 but failed to pass potential executive orders and request for divestment. And in December, FBI Director Chris Wray gives testimony to the House of Representatives and Homeland Security Committees, arguing that the app poses a national security threat.

However, the panic about TikTok has been overblown. Although there are some concerns about the data-in spite of nothing more extreme than those above any US-based social media platform—policies and discourse around TikTok in politics up to one Modern day Red Scar. American politicians seem to want to criticize China for its lack of data security without looking at themselves, as they continue to allow Big Tech lobbyists to stamp out any meaningful attempts to regulate regulation. federal social media regulations. Without a federal ban on TikTok across the US (but still determined not to happen), the app cannot be returned to Pandora’s box. And when it comes to educating good media citizens in college classrooms, these TikTok bans will do more harm than good.

Research and teaching on social media has become a staple in academic and higher education programs. This app has fundamentally changed the nature of modern communication with its aesthetics, practicality, storytelling, and information sharing.

From an educational standpoint, how can media and communications professors train students to be savvy content creators and consumers if we cannot teach a pillar of the traditional media landscape? modern pine? While students can certainly still access TikTok in the privacy of their own homes, professors can no longer include TikTok in PowerPoint slides or display TikTok links via the classroom web browser. . Brands, companies, and novel forms of storytelling all rely on TikTok, and professors will no longer be able to train their students in best practices for these purposes. Additionally, TikTok makes parts of the world more accessible, as students can see what they’re learning in real time.

The world continues to turn as these countries implement their bans, leaving their citizens disadvantaged in a rapidly evolving media world. In addition, media and communications students in the states will be at a disadvantage in applying for jobs, demonstrating proficiency in communication and engineering, as well as storytelling and branding skills, as their peers they from other states will be able to get education and training.

Professors also have to do research. Social media pundits in these states can’t quite do what they’re hired to do and become experts if these bans persist. While university compliance offices say the ban can only apply to on-campus Wi-Fi and mobile data is still allowed, who should pay that bill for a person to pay? for more expensive data plans on their phones? The answer is no one. While working from home is still an option, professors are also staff who often have to come to campus to show they’re working in the real world. This means that any social media professor trying to research TikTok on campus will have to rely on streaming video over mobile data, which can be quite expensiveeither through having to pay separately for unlimited data or accidentally going over one’s limit.


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