A case challenging the application of Texas’s TikTok ban to public university faculty
On July 13, 2023, the Knight Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Coalition for Independent Technology Research challenging Texas’s TikTok ban as applied to faculty in the state’s public universities. The ban prohibits all state employees—including public university faculty—from accessing TikTok on state-owned or -issued devices and networks, and on personal devices used to conduct state business.
The coalition is a group of academics, journalists, and other researchers defending the right to study the impact of technology on society. Its members include professors at public universities in Texas whose research and teaching have been compromised by the ban.
The lawsuit argues that Texas’s ban is unconstitutional as applied because it burdens the First Amendment rights of public university faculty to teach and pursue academic research, and fails to satisfy First Amendment scrutiny. The lawsuit asks the court to hold the ban unconstitutional and to direct Texas officials to exempt the coalition’s members from the ban unless and until those officials give them constitutionally adequate means of accessing TikTok for research and teaching purposes.
Status: On December 11, 2023, the court issued an order mooting Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and granting the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
Case information: Coal. for Indep. Tech. Rsch. v. Abbott, No. 1:23-cv-783 (W.D. Tex.).