20-year-old popular TikTok creator says he’s using hot spots and a Starlink-equipped sprinter van to get around the app ban on college campuses

  • Many colleges have banned TikTok over their Wi-Fi systems, citing security concerns.

  • This decision prompted developers and students to find alternative ways to access the app.

  • Leon Ondieki, the creator of TikTok with millions of followers, set up a mobile workstation to be able to edit his videos without limits.

US colleges and universities are banning TikTok on campuses, but this is only a “small roadblock” for some creators and influencers who use quad for content and rely on the revenue they get from the popular app.

For example, Leon Ondieki.

Known on the platform as @leon.ond, the 20-year-old has amassed over 2 million followers through his content. It consists of impromptu challenges, interviews with street people, and trivia games not only at the University of Georgia where he attended school, but also on other college campuses.

TikTok is his daily bread and has helped him pay his tuition out of his own pocket and avoid taking out student loans, Ondieki told Insider in a telephone interview.

“I was able to pay off my studies, books, living expenses… which was really nice. It gave me a lot of peace. And then I was able to buy my first car in my freshman year of college,” he said.

But with a wave of colleges imposing restrictions on access to TikTok – citing national security and privacy concerns, according to USA Today – Ondieki and creators like him are finding alternative ways to use the app.

Many universities are cracking down on TikTok and have announced its removal from campus Wi-Fi systems

The University of Georgia, as well as other institutions in several states, including Texas and Alabama, have recently announced various bans. It comes after federal officials’ growing national security concerns that a Chinese social media app could be used for spying operations, Insider previously reported.

“There have been a lot of threats of TikTok bans over the past few years, so my first reaction to that was, ‘Not again,’ because it’s just happening, but this time it’s really happening,” Ondieki said.

“So, starting last year, I started to diversify the platforms I post on,” as a precaution, he added.

He noted that since expanding his content to other platforms, he has managed to gain over a million subscribers on YouTube and over 100,000 followers on Instagram.

Before the ban was announced, Ondieki made the decision to take a year off school to go on his second college tour and shoot content across campuses with fellow social media creator Wyatt Eiden, who has nearly 3 million followers on TikTok.

Video editing on the go

The crew got a Mercedes Sprinter for their trip, which has satellite internet provider Starlink, so “we were still able to continue editing and uploading wherever we were,” Ondieki said. In addition, he continued, they also have a T-mobile hotspot as a backup.

This time was better compared to their last tour, Eiden, 23, told Insider.

“We just lived out of our cars and worked whenever we could. Sometimes we would stop at the library or school and work from there and use their Wi-Fi,” he said. “But this time having a mobile workstation will help us a lot.”

Ondieki said this setup would come in especially handy at one of their scheduled stops at the University of Texas at Austin. It is one of the state’s largest universities, but this month announced that under a directive from Governor Greg Abbott, students will not be able to access TikTok through the university’s wired or Wi-Fi network.

However, while there are some concerns, some students are not being phased and have previously told Insider’s Kieran Press-Reynolds that they intend to use cellular or VPN services to access the very popular video-sharing app.

“I feel like colleges banning TikTok on their Wi-Fi networks is a minor hurdle for creators, but it’s not a total hurdle,” Ondieki said. “I feel like in the long run, creators will still find a way to publish.”

Read the original article on Insider

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