A popular 20-year-old TikTok creator says he used a sprinter van equipped with hotspots and Starlink to circumvent the app’s ban on college campuses

  • Multiple colleges have banned TikTok via Wifi systems, citing security concerns.

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

  • Leon Ondieki, a TikTok creator with millions of followers, built a mobile workstation to be able to edit his videos without restrictions.

American colleges and universities ban TikTok on campuses, but for some creators and influencers who use the quad for content and rely on their revenue from the popular app, it’s only a “small hurdle.”

Like Leon Ondieki, for example.

Known as @leon.ond on the platform, the 20-year-old has amassed over 2 million followers from their content. It consists of impromptu challenges, street man interviews and trivia games, not only at the University of Georgia where he went to school, but at other university campuses.

In a phone call, Ondieki told Insider that TikTok is a breadwinner, helping him pay his tuition out of pocket and avoid taking out student loans.

“I was able to afford my university, my books, my living expenses… which was really nice. It gave me a lot of peace. And from there, I was able to get my first car in my first year at university,” he said.

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

Multiple universities crash TikTok and announce removal from campus wifi systems

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

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

As a precaution, I started to diversify the platforms I share with as a precaution,” he said.

He stated that he was able to gain more than 1 million subscribers on Youtube and over 100,000 followers on Instagram as he expanded his content to other platforms.

Before the ban was announced, Ondieki decided to take a one-year hiatus from school to go on a second college tour and shoot content on different campuses with fellow social media creator Wyatt Eiden, who has nearly 3 million followers on TikTok.

Video editing content on the go

Ondieki said the crew bought a Mercedes Sprinter with satellite internet service provider Starlink for their journey, so “we can continue editing and loading wherever we are.” He also added that they have a T-mobile hotspot as a backup.

Eiden, 23, told Insider that he’s doing better this time around compared to his last laps.

“We were just living outside our cars and working as much as we could. Sometimes we would stop at a library or school and work from there and use the Wi-Fi,” he said. “But this time, having a mobile workstation will help us a lot.”

This setup would come in particularly handy at one of its planned stops at the University of Texas at Austin, Ondieki said. It’s one of the largest universities in the state, but this month it announced that under Governor Greg Abbott’s directive, students will not be able to access TikTok over the university’s wired or WiFi networks.

However, while there is some concern, some students are not phased out and have previously told Insider’s Kieran Press-Reynolds that they will use their cellular service or VPN to access the widely used video-sharing app.

“I think it’s a minor hurdle for creators that universities ban TikTok on Wi-Fi networks, but it’s not a complete hurdle,” Ondieki said. “I think in the long run, creators will find a way to post.”

Read the original article on Insider

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