Ramon Padilla, Chief Information Officer for the UT System sent out an update to the UT System this morning. The message read as below.
Governor Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 834/House Bill 1445 into law this 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 immediately. This new law means that students, faculty, staff and members of the general public will be blocked while using the University’s IT network if they attempt to access TikTok or other social media platforms (WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Tencent Video, Xiao HongShu, Douban, Zhihu, Meituan and Toutiao) that are operated or hosted by a company in China. 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’s own personal network connection or a third-party network. The law recognizes several key exceptions. It does not apply to institutions or employees of such institutions if downloading, accessing, or using such a social media platform is necessary to perform: (1) 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. We have created an FAQ to answer immediate concerns.