CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- People who work at the University of Virginia can no longer use certain apps on Grounds.

Under a state policy that took effect July 1, employees, agents and contractors of public bodies, such as UVA, are not allowed to access, download or use any applications or websites developed by ByteDance Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd.

This includes apps like TikTok, WeChat, Helo, Lark, Inked and others.

UVA student, Brandon Williams, tells us he is aware of the concern but thinks students will still access the app on other networks.

"There is a security concern regarding it. And ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, you know they are owned by the Chinese Communist party, and they have to turn over consumer's data whenever they want. With that being said, I think most people using TikTok know that or care," Williams said. 

Under the updated policy, non-student users of UVA IT resources are prohibited from using these apps, even on their personal devices if they are connected to UVA’s wireless internet.

However, it does not restrict use of the apps on personal devices, not connected to the university or other state-maintained networks.

The full release is copied below:

To University Employees,

We are writing to update you on the University’s response to a change in Virginia law that affects if, and how, UVA employees use a number of mobile applications, including TikTok.

Effective July 1, 2023, Virginia law prohibits employees, agents and contractors of public bodies from accessing, downloading or using any application or website developed by ByteDance Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd.:

  • on any government-issued device or government-owned or government-leased equipment (including mobile phones, desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, or other devices capable of connecting to the Internet), or
  • on any device while connected to any wired or wireless Internet network owned, operated, or maintained by the Commonwealth.

The list of prohibited apps includes, but is not limited to: TikTok, WeChat, Douyin, CapCut, Hypic, Toutiao, Xigua Video, Helo, BytePlus, Lark, Inked, QQ, and Tencent QQ.  Websites associated with these apps or ByteDance or Tencent are also prohibited.

In order to respond to this new legal requirement, effective July 1, 2023, the University has updated Policy IRM-002: Acceptable Use of the University’s Information Technology Resources to prohibit non-student users of University IT resources from using these prohibited apps and websites.

Going forward, employees who violate these new restrictions may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

As of July 1, 2023:

  • The prohibited apps may not be used on any University-issued device, regardless of what network is being used at the time.  
  • Prohibited apps must be deleted from any University-issued device. 
  • Prohibited apps and websites may not be accessed by University faculty, staff, agents, or contractors using University networks, regardless of what device is being used at the time.
  • The new law and UVA policy do not restrict use of the prohibited apps on personally-owned devices, as long as those devices are not connected to University or other state-maintained networks.
  • Users may still use TikTok or WeChat for non-official use on personal phones or computers when connected through a personal cellular data plan, a home Wi-Fi network, or another privately managed network.
  • The new law and UVA policy do not restrict student use of prohibited applications, except for students acting on behalf of the University in a capacity as a student worker or representative of an agency or special status organization.

Complying with this law may in some cases affect the University community’s international communications. However, the University retains a broad suite of communications tools for official business, such as Zoom, with which community members will still be able to engage virtually everywhere in the world unimpeded.

We are grateful for your assistance in complying with this new legal requirement. If you have questions about this new policy, please contact [email protected].


Dana German, Interim Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Robin Parkin, Chief Information and Technology Officer, UVA Health