To the dismay of peppy preteens and bored college students everywhere, the days of TikTok in the United States might be numbered. Before we know it, we may have to say goodbye to endless whipped coffee videos, short-form political activism, and the “Renegade.” The TikTok universe quickly descended into chaos on July 6 after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo let loose that the app might soon become forbidden fruit. A temporary error on July 9 in which view counters had dropped down to zero only added to this frenzy.
— KaisKorner (@KaisKornerrr) July 9, 2020
Hold on – what’s wrong with Tik Tok, anyway?
Unfortunately for those of us who have poured hours upon hours into mastering the “woah” or the “mop,” apprehensions about privacy run rampant. The app has a strikingly young demographic, with many minor users. Last year, TikTok did face a multi-million dollar penalty from the Federal Trade Commission after failing to guard data from users under 13. The app has also been under fire for viewing information copied to users’ clipboards.
Back in 2019, the United States Army and Navy commanded servicemembers to wipe the app from government smartphones. Even major companies like Amazon and Wells Fargo have gone public with their worries about TikTok. While the latter asked employees to expel the app from any pieces of company technology, the former made a comparable request yet soon revoked it.
Tech junkies have surmised that Americans’ distrust of the app might have more to do with its ties to China than anything else. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is centered in Beijing. In recent months, however, the company has been slowly but surely creeping away from China, as evidenced by a movement out of Hong Kong and the appointment of an American CEO. (Of course, these decisions could be nothing more than public relations moves.)
What does this mean for you?
In recent days, prominent TikTokers have been guiding their fans toward other video-sharing apps like YouTube and Instagram. If you’re worried about losing touch with the creators who show up consistently on your “For You” page, be sure to write down their handles so you can catch up with them on other platforms if needed.
Regardless of this effort at redirection, neither Instagram nor YouTube seem to be seamless replacements for the app. Much of what makes TikTok so appealing is its consistency and its simplicity, full of videos (instead of pictures) that are at most a minute long, although many are just a quarter of this. Other apps like Byte and Dubsmash remain viable options for TikTok users to focus their energies.
Do you think the TikTok ban is a serious cause for worry? Let us know in the poll below!
Cover Photo by Kon Karampelas via Unsplash
Are you seriously worried about the possibility of a TikTok ban?
It’s all talk
I can’t stop thinking about it
2020, please don’t take this away too