April 22, 2024

TikTok Ban Still Up in the Air

TikTok has been the center of attention once again as the ban is still up in the air. The ban is due to potential security risks that the app poses to data and information of its American users. If the app is banned it will affect users all across the country, including here on Rocky Top.

Tired of hearing Renegade over and over? Well, you might not have to listen much longer.

The video-sharing app TikTok has blown up since its arrival to app stores in 2016. The app has grown larger since merging with a similar app, Musical.ly, in 2018.

However, TikTok is now the center point of a security threat from China, according to President Trump, and is still under the threat of a ban.

The popularity of the app has grown quickly, spiking from 1 billion downloads and 500 million active users in July of 2019 to 2 billion downloads and 800 million active users worldwide in July of 2020.

The growing attention of the app led to suspicions among politicians. Many Government officials feared that the app was feeding data and information about its users’ rights to the Communist Party in China. The owner of TikTok is ByteDance, a Chinese tech giant.

President Trump announced the official ban on TikTok in early August. He stated that if the Chinese Parent companies did not sell the app to one or more US companies then the app would be removed from the app store and banned in the US.

The app was scheduled to be removed from the app store this past Sunday. However, two companies, Oracle and Walmart, have begun plans to invest in the app. This would bring some control over the app into the United States’ hands. The ban was pushed back one week to allow Oracle/Walmart and ByteDance to work things out.

“I have given the deal my blessing,” Trump said.

However, there is still a dispute as to who exactly would be in control of the new company, TikTok Global, once it is created. ByteDance claims that they would still own the majority of the company until next year. Oracle released a contrasting statement claiming that ByteDance would lose its ownership and the app would be in American control.

The details of ownership are a pressing matter. President Trump stated that he would not approve of the deal if Oracle was not in control.

“If we find that they don’t have total control, then we’re not going to approve the deal,” Trump said.

China also seems hesitant to accept a deal where they lose one of their most successful pieces of technology. The editor of The Global Times, a communist-controlled newspaper, Hu Xijin released his opinion about the deal on Twitter.

“Based on what I know, Beijing won’t approve a current agreement between ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, and Oracle, Walmart, because the agreement would endanger China’s national security, interests and dignity,” Xijin said.

In the middle of this security-control war stands the content creators on the app. With over 800 million active users worldwide, this ban will affect a lot of people who post videos to the app. Some creators are employed by TikTok. After reaching a large following, TikTok reaches out to many users of the app and ask them to make TikTok their job.

Many of the content creators took to social media to express their feelings about the ban. Larri Merrit, a content creator on the app with over 10 million followers urged others to follow TikTokers on other social media apps.

Closer to Home

The potential ban doesn’t just affect the big names of TikTok, but everyday users as well.

Katlynn Gill is a student at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and an avid TikTok user as well. Gill has 182.3 thousand followers on the app and disagrees with the ban.

“I think TikTok is so special because it is able to connect users all around the world and allows users to express their feelings, encourages creativity and provides entertainment to people of all ages, beliefs and demographics,” Gill said.

Another University of Tennessee student who creates content on the app also disagrees with the ban. This student has a presence on TikTok but asked to remain anonymous.

“I feel like if apps like Twitter and Facebook are allowed to use my information, why not TikTok? We all checked the box agreeing to the terms of use,” they said.

The UT student also claims that they have made a community on TikTok.

“I’ve made a cute little community on there; they’ve made me a subreddit and a few fan accounts. It’s just a really wholesome place,” the student said.

Amidst the chaos, one thing is clear: the TikTok ban is still up in the air. While the app poses a security risk to Americans’ information the ban will eliminate the platform for a creative community of Americans in the process.

Edited by Christian Knox and Maddie Torres

Featured photo courtesy of Creative Commons. 

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