State of Tennessee SB0834/HB1445: "TikTok Law"

On April 13, 2023, Governor Bill Lee signed into law SB0834/HB1445, which "prohibit[s] a public postsecondary institution that provides internet access, through a hard-wired or wireless network connection, to students, faculty, staff, or the general public from allowing an individual to access a social media platform using the institution's network if the platform is operated or hosted by a company based in the People's Republic of China."

Effective immediately as required by the law, social media platforms such as TikTok, WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Tencent Video, Xiao HongShu, Douban, Zhihu, Meituan and Toutiao, as well as any others operated or hosted by a company based in China, will be inaccessible from University of Memphis networks, both wired and wireless. Students, faculty, staff or guests attempting to access these apps or websites will instead see a notice that they are unavailable.

The law grants exceptions to institutions and their employees when "necessary to perform law enforcement activities; investigatory functions to carry out official duties for bona fide law enforcement, investigative, or public safety purposes; or audit, compliance, or legal functions of the institution."

The full details and text of SB0834/HB1445 and its amendments can be found on the State of Tennessee General Assembly website. →

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still have a personal TikTok or other social media account? Can University-affiliated groups use TikTok?
Yes. The law does not prohibit anyone from creating or having a personal or business account on any platform. However, users will be unable to access these sites or apps when using a University network to access the internet.

Which apps and websites are affected?
Any social media service operated or hosted by a company based in China is included in the law. These include, but are not limited to, TikTok, WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Tencent Video, Xiao HongShu, Douban, Zhihu, Meituan and Toutiao.

Chinese-operated or hosted websites and services that do not include social media platforms are not affected, nor are any services or websites operated or hosted by companies outside of China.

Can I access the affected social media platforms on my own network?
Yes. The law only requires public colleges and universities in Tennessee to restrict access to these services on networks owned and managed by the institution. Users can still access the services on their own networks (such as wireless cellular networks or privately-owned internet connections). Internet use on any network is still subject to relevant IT Security Policies and Guidelines.

Will I get in trouble for trying to access the affected platforms on campus?
No. The law only requires the University to block access on UofM-owned networks. Users will be unable to view or use the affected services when connecting to the internet through a University-owned network. No further enforcement is required by the law.

I am a University employee and have a legitimate law enforcement, public safety, or compliance need to access an affected platform. Who should I contact?
Open a Help Desk ticket or email umtech@memphis.edu. No exceptions will be granted for non-employees or anyone without a legitimate need as described above.