TikTok: Future Craze or Millennial Phase?
Cute dog videos, dancing Nans and Mama-Mia themed lip-syncing- from 2020s most popular social media platform to the most scrutinized in the matter of a few months.
As a millennial myself, I have fallen victim to spending hours choreographing dances and playing pranks on my family influenced by TikTok’s ‘for you page’ algorithm, providing significant entertainment to my life during the pandemic. But as it hits the headlines for debating whether it should be banned or not, will it continue to be a future craze, or will it end as a millennial phase?
The popular media platform is owned by Chinese company ‘Bytedance’ that co-exists under Chinese laws and regulations, which had led to China being under scrutiny by countries all over the world, spreading concern about the safety of their country’s privacy data, stored by the app. Assumptions arose after a college student made acquisitions that her data was transferred to Chinese servers via TikTok and whether it is politically correct or not, China is on the receiving end of a fractured trust after the pandemic.
TikTok is available in 155 countries, yet most of which now face widespread concern over current headlines, sharing the same conclusion to ban the app. Meanwhile, India, Bangladesh, Japan and Indonesia have already followed suit in the ban. President Trump has recently claimed that he could sign Americans TikTok privilege away as promptly as possible [31st July, Friday] but the day has gone by, and TikTok still stands. However, this is not the first time Trump has threatened to ban a high tech giant [Huawei] and followed through with it.
On a positive note, there are alternative solutions that could prevent TikTok from being banned, such as selling the app to another U.S. bidder in protection of data. Or to continue the existing ban on Military, defence and security employees from using the app which is already exercised within the U.S. military base. Australia’s Technology commentator Trevor Long said that a TikTok ban would be a “slippery slope”, contributing to existing tensions between Beijing and Canberra. While TikTok persistently claims that User’s data is safe and is not transferable to the Chinese government, experts claim that “Beijing has the power to order the company to hand over data” , steering countries further in support of the ban.
It’s no surprise that TikTok has delivered a tremendous amount of business, building livelihoods for TikTok influencers and promoting business for brands, as well as being an app of endless fun. It will be destroying millions of livelihoods and losing a dominant competitor in the money market if the ban should happen. It has left influencers scrambling to find new platforms amid their uncertain future, whilst others have claimed that it forced them to move onto bigger and better things. Josh Richards, who became TikTok famous at 18 with 20 million followers, speaks for a lot of TikTok stars as he leaves TikTok to move his platform elsewhere to “protect and lead [his] followers”.
It’s going to be difficult for TikTok to recover from this, now that the stigma of the app has gone from being a video making toy for millennials to an app that could potentially be a threat to national security. However, TikTok is standing as the dominant tech giant that it is with the support of its 500 million users, hitting back at its critiques, firming saying “We’re not going anywhere”.