Students can no longer access TikTok on university Wi-Fi after USC blocked the social media platform in early August.
The decision was due to "ongoing security concerns on a state, federal and international level," according to an announcement in USC Today, a university newsletter. While students will only be able to access TikTok on personal devices, exemptions will be provided for research and educational purposes.
Guidance for these exemption requests is coming soon, according to university spokesperson Jeff Stensland, but the university said it has no comment on the ban itself.
In March, the university said there were no plans to ban TikTok after Gov. Henry McMaster called for a state-wide ban on the Chinese-owned social media app in a letter dated Dec. 5, 2022.
Gov. McMaster moved to block TikTok on all government-issued devices amid national scrutiny over TikTok's cybersecurity.
“Protecting our State’s critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses,” Gov. McMaster said in his letter to Marcia Adams, the executive director for South Carolina's Department of Administration.
USC joins USC Upstate, Clemson, Auburn University, the University System of Georgia and other large American universities in blocking TikTok access. Many universities were similarly ordered to ban TikTok access by their respective governors.
However, USC has its own TikTok account, posting as recently as Aug. 23, 2023.
One USC student said she's "heartbroken" about the ban.
“It’s just social media,” first-year nursing student McKenzie Dreher said. “I don’t think it’s causing problems to any students on campus.”
For the foreseeable future, USC students, faculty and staff will have to get their TikTok fix through other networks such as their own data services.