TikTok Helped Creator Leon Ondieki Pay Tuition — Now, The Platform's Being Banned On College Campuses
Photo Credit: Olivier Douliery

TikTok Helped Creator Leon Ondieki Pay Tuition — Now, The Platform's Being Banned On College Campuses

Man on the street videos is one of the most popular types of content on TikTok. For TikToker Leon Ondieki, filming TikToks on college campuses has helped him rake in 2.1 million followers, as of this writing.

@leon.ond How many did you know #college #interview #fyp ♬ original sound – Leon Ondieki

However, a ban on the social media giant across U.S. universities has become a hindrance.

Numerous college campuses have banned students from using TikTok on school-owned devices and Wi-Fi networks, USA TODAY reports.

For Ondieki, being a TikToker has not only given him a platform of millions but has also helped him to pay his tuition as a student at the University of Georgia and buy a car.

Due to TikTok restrictions at universities, he had to make a transition to also posting on YouTube Shorts and Snapchat Spotlight.

What’s more, for his upcoming tour — during his gap year from school — with broadband internet service Starlink, he outfitted the sprinter van and a hotspot in order to not rely on campus WiFi, the outlet notes.

“For any content creator who’s in school, I can see how this would be frustrating, especially considering that some content creators have made a lot of money for their schools,” Ondieki shared with the outlet about the banning of TikTok.

College campuses that have banned TikTok on its devices and networks include The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, The University System of Georgia, and more.

Although affected students can’t access TikTok on their school’s WiFi, they are still able to on their personal devices’ cellular data.

The bans come after the Senate unanimously passed legislation to ban TikTok on U.S. government devices.

As previously reported by AfroTech, U.S. officials believe the app, which is owned by Chinese company Byte-Dance, is a security risk to the country due to its potential of sharing data with the Chinese government.

Along with college students, TikTok isn’t too pleased with the bans on college campuses.

“We’re disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok,” Jamal Brown, a spokesperson for TikTok, told USA TODAY. “We’re especially sorry to see the unintended consequences of these rushed policies beginning to impact universities’ ability to share information, recruit students, and build communities around athletic teams, student groups, campus publications, and more.”

On the other end of the debate, there are school faculty who are for the ban as schools could possibly lose public funding or be sued for security breaches, according to Vanessa Dennen, professor of instructional systems and learning technologies at Florida State University.

“Personnel data, student data, our research data – the protection of data is something that we’re highly concerned with,” Dennen said. “There seems to be sufficient reasonable concern from a data security issue or standpoint and it’s not unusual for universities to have this kind of a concern.”