BYU student commandeers BYU’s TikTok handle

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By Macenzi McGuire

Normally, searching a college name on TikTok will take you to an account managed by the university. However, searching Brigham Young University on TikTok will actually take you to the personal account of communications major Hannah Anderson.

BYU student Hannah Anderson caught the attention of the BYU trademark office and almost 2 million other viewers after one of her videos went viral on TikTok.

“I made my TikTok about two years ago, I needed a username and I thought it would be funny to make it @brighamyounguniversity. And then I made this one video and it happened to blow up,” Anderson said.

And it did blow up, reaching 1.8 million views and 314,000 likes.

Anderson said she was surprised when she saw how many people had viewed her video. “I definitely didn’t think it would get any attention when I made it. My TikTok isn’t popular, I think I only had 400 followers,” she said.

BYU’s social media team was part of the 1.8 million viewers and they’ve decided to petition for ownership of the handle. “Their social media team reached out to me and told me, ‘hey you should probably change it before we have to get branding and licensing involved,’” she said.

Anderson kept her TikTok followers updated on the situation, posting follow up videos about being on the news, having the trademark department reach out to her and changing her username so TikTok doesn’t delete her account. But she did make a second account with the Brigham Young University username so she would still have ownership.

As a communications student, Hannah took advantage of the situation and turned it into a learning opportunity.

“I reached out to my media law professor and asked him all these questions. I’m still not 100% sure if it is copyright infringement, my professor didn’t seem to think so, but I’m still waiting to hear back from TikTok and from the BYU Trademark Office,” she said.

While she waits to hear from the university, Anderson is hoping the situation can end positively. She even offered to run the account for BYU if they take the username. 

“I would definitely be interested in running the official BYU account for them. I actually work as a social media manager so I love TikTok, love doing social media stuff and I love BYU,” she said. Anderson plans to meet with the BYU Trademark Office later this week.

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