Network Access Changes
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 834/House Bill 1445 into law last week. This new law “prohibits Tennessee public higher education institutions
from allowing access to social media platforms operated or hosted by a company based
in China on the institution’s network. The law applies to internet services provided
by an institution through a hard-wired or wireless network connection and is effective
This new law means that starting today, April 17, the university will begin the process
to block TikTok access on our campus networks. There is no action needed on the part
of the app's users. Once the block is in effect, students, faculty, staff and members
of the general public will no longer able to access TikTok or other Chinese-based
social media platforms, which include WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Tencent Video,
Xiao HongShu, Douban, Zhihu, Meituan and Toutiao, on any device if you are connected
to the university via its wired or Wi-Fi networks.
However, the law does not prohibit students, faculty, staff or members of the general
public from accessing TikTok or other such Chinese social media platforms through
an individual user’s own personal network connection or a third-party network.
This law does recognize several exceptions to this block. It “does not apply to institutions
or employees of such institutions if downloading, accessing, or using such a social
media platform is necessary to (1) perform law enforcement activities; (2) investigatory
functions to carry out official duties for bona fide law enforcement, investigative,
or public safety purposes; or (3) audit, compliance, or legal functions of the institution.”
Frequently Asked Questions
- » What apps are included in this block?
TikTok or other Chinese-based social media platforms, which include WeChat, Sina Weibo,
Tencent QQ, Tencent Video, Xiao HongShu, Douban, Zhihu, Meituan and Toutiao, are among
the apps immediately impacted.
- » When will this change take affect?
University staff began working on adjusting university network allowances of access
to these apps on Monday, April 17, 2023. Campus network users can expect to experience
access limitations that same day.
- » How does this affect my personal TikTok account?
This does not affect your ability to have a personal TikTok account if accessed via
personal cellular data or networks not maintained by the university.
- » Am I allowed to use TikTok while on campus?
The law does not prohibit access to TikTok or other affected social media platforms
through an individual’s own personal network connection.
- » What will happen to university TikTok accounts?
In response to the law, Tennessee Tech is discontinuing use of TikTok as a channel
for university communication. As outlined in the university’s social media policy, all social media accounts that bear the university’s name or logo should only be
created and managed under consultation with the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Student organizations who have TikTok accounts and access those via means not owned
or operated by the university may continue to do so.
- » How will the ban be enforced?
Network access will limit a user’s ability to navigate the apps included in the ban.
The implementation and ongoing enforcement of the ban will simply mean that the university’s
networks maintained by Information Technology Services on campus will not allow connection
to the application or URL.
- » Who else is affected by the ban?
The law applies to any “public institution of higher education” in the state of Tennessee.
- » If I have an unusual use case or situation, can I get an exception?
The law does outline a few exceptions for law enforcement, safety, audit, compliance
and legal uses. If you feel you may have a case warranting an exception, please contact
the ITS Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.