TikTok, WeChat, and other applications

A 2023 state law prohibits the use of TikTok, WeChat, and other products from ByteDance, Ltd. or Tencent Holdings, Ltd. on any university-issued device or network. Effective July 1, 2023, these apps will be blocked from UMW networks.

These apps will be restricted on all networks at UMW, including eduroam, UMW-Secure, UMW, and UMW Guest. You will not be able to access these apps and will receive a “cannot connect” message similar to when there’s no internet available. In addition, TikTok, WeChat, etc. may not be used on any university-issued device, regardless of what network is being used at the time. These apps should be deleted from university-issued devices, and should not be accessed as websites.

Access to these applications with personally-owned devices over private networks and for personal business is still permitted. Please see the table and frequently asked questions below for additional clarification.

 At-a-glance summary of restrictions

Network Connection / Work Type UMW Owned or Issued Device Personal Device
On UMW network or doing UMW-related work Not allowed Not allowed
On UMW Network but doing personal business Not allowed Not allowed
On personal/outside network doing UMW work Not allowed Not allowed
On personal/outside network doing personal business Not allowed Allowed (only on personal device)



Why is UMW prohibiting access to TikTok and WeChat?

The Virginia General Assembly passed a new law earlier in 2023 that requires all state-affiliated entities – including state universities – to stop using TikTok and other applications developed by ByteDance and Tencent on state-issued devices or state-maintained networks. The governor signed the bill in April. The restriction takes effect on July 1, 2023.

Will the websites for these applications be blocked too?

Yes, UMW will implement technical controls to limit access to the websites for the apps too.

My department or student organization has a TikTok account? What should I do and not do?

No posts should be made to these accounts.

For any university-affiliated account, including departmental accounts, student organizations, and employees who have an account related to their role, please cease using the account. You need to delete the app from any state-issued devices. However, please do not delete the account.

Social media managers are advised not to delete accounts, but simply to stop using them – this will protect the accounts from being spoofed in the future. If your department or organization has follow-up questions about deactivating but not deleting your account, please email social@umw.edu.

I have a personal TikTok account. Can I still use it?

You can still access and use TikTok after July 1 provided that these three requirements are met:

  • The app is on a device you own.
  • You are using a personal or cellular network that is not owned or managed by a state agency.
  • You are not using the account for UMW related work.

I have a WeChat account to communicate with friends and family internationally. Can I still use it after July 1?

You are not prohibited from using WeChat on a personal device with a personal data plan. However, you will not be able to use the application over the UMW network.

What if I’m visiting campus or a vendor working on campus?

If you have a personal device on a personal data plan, you can access the apps for personal use. However, even if you are visiting campus or just here for a short-time, you will not be able to use the apps while on any UMW network.

No person or entity contracting with UMW shall download or use the applications in their work with UMW, as required by state law.

How will this restriction be implemented and enforced?

Information Technology will block access to these apps on university networks. Any violation of the restriction will be a violation of UMW’s Network and Computer Use Policy and may result in sanctions.