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January 31, 2023 by Haddayr Copley-Woods

Should you block TikTok?

An increasing number of governmental and educational organizations have decided to block TikTok from their networks. Here's why, and how you can do the same if you wish.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media app and website that has become wildly popular, in particular, with young people. Users can share, comment on, and even collaborate on short videos. The topics range as far as people range: social justice issues, dancing videos, how-to videos, and of course cute pet videos. Users can add music over their videos, voiceover, and even share music clips widely to encourage people to use them.

Why is TikTok a security threat?

It's important for readers to employ some healthy skepticism about stories with vague references to 'the Chinese' or 'China' (so many seemed to conflate these words with individual Chinese people and the Chinese government, which is misleading). And I confess my own skepticism toward adults getting hot under the collar about things that kids like. I mean, why is TikTok a security risk, specifically?

A closer read leads to one inescapable truth: there really is something going on here.

There are genuine concerns about TikTok.

While there's no public evidence that the Chinese government is spying through TikTok, its parent company ByteDance definitely has been spying on us, against their own stated policies. And by 'us' I don't mean private individuals. I mean government workers. Journalists.

And that is extremely worrying. A recent bill now bans TikTok from any governmental-issued work device, and the FBI has alleged that TikTok poses national security concerns. Multiple US agencies have TikTok under investigation as a possible national security threat.

That's why many organizations have decided to get a jump on this by blocking TikTok from their networks entirely.

How can my organization effectively block TikTok?

Many Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems and security tools can block apps and sites from being loaded up or accessed on devices, should you decide that blocking the app and site entirely is the way you want to go.

But not all products are the same.

Jamf's uniquely simple app management and security offering

Jamf's unique dynamically-generated security groups can allow IT to make it impossible for all users to download or install TikTok. We're the only device management company with these dynamically-generated security groups.

Our robust content filtering can also block any access to the site itself. And Jamf admins can also configure an app restriction that uses the app’s unique identifier to prevent TikTok from running or being launched — even if the app already exists on the user’s device. All in about three or four clicks.

We're here to help

We're always here to lend a hand! For information on which of our products and plans can help you in blocking and filtering content the best, please reach out to your Jamf representative or reseller, or contact us directly through email or by phone call.

Photo of Haddayr Copley-Woods
Haddayr Copley-Woods
Haddayr Copley-Woods is a senior copywriter at Jamf. She writes about tech, specializing in Apple and Jamf with a focus on education, accessibility and security.
Other authors:
Jesus Vigo
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