AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas, in a newsletter to all faculty and staff Friday, said all university employees must immediately remove TikTok from all state-issued devices in their care, including university-owned cellphones, laptops, tablets and desktop computers.
This comes after Gov. Greg Abbott in a letter on Dec. 7 said all state agencies had to ban their officers and employees from installing or using TikTok on state-issued devices.
“If you have not yet removed TikTok from all such devices, please do so immediately,” UT said in the newsletter. “Further, do not install TikTok on any state-issued device.”
The governor said in a press release that the ban is due to growing threat of the Chinese Communist Party gaining access to critical U.S. information. Abbott sent letters to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan and state agency leaders saying the state has a responsibility to preserve the safety and cybersecurity of Texans.
TikTok has more than 85 million users in the United States and is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. Abbott said in a press release that ByteDance has reportedly planned to use TikTok location information to surveil American citizens.
UT Senior Manager of Issues and Crisis Communications Brian Davis told KXAN in a statement, “The university follows all state laws and guidelines. If you notice, there have been no postings to those accounts since the Governor issued his directive.”