Grace Jordan, Campus Carrier arts and living editor
TikTok, an app that has quickly captivated Gen Z, has been on the receiving end of scrutiny from the White House administration. TikTok is an online platform that young people have called the successor of Vine. The platform involves minute long videos where creators from all different backgrounds display their talents and abilities for viewers.
TikTok is a Chinese owned app, which is a reason for much of the contention. According to Variety, a Chinese company, ByteDance, had originally owned an app, Douyin, similar to Tiktok and then bought the company who produced Musical.ly in 2019 and merged the two apps together to form what we know as Tiktok today.
On the authority of The International Law Office, the current administration believes TikTok to be a national security risk; the Committee on Foreign Investment has been investigating the app since 2019.
As stated in Whitehouse.gov, Trump said that TikTok could “potentially allow China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
As reported in Variety, this belief is due in part to the fact that if the ruling Chinese Communist Party were to ask ByteDance for its user information the company would have no choice but to comply due to a national intelligence law passed in 2017. Trump signed an executive order in early August that stated that if ByteDance does not sell TikTok to a U.S. company by Sept. 20, then the app will be banned from America.
In the opinion of Washington Post, due to the possible ban of TikTok in America, the app has distanced itself from the Chinese company that owns it. ByteDance hired former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as CEO and no longer stores user data in China.
There has been a nationwide outcry to the possible banning of TikTok in America. TikTok has provided a platform for people of all different backgrounds and interest; the online platform boasts a large fanbase, which, according to a report on the Buisness of Apps website, stands at 500 million users worldwide and 80 million users in the U.S.
TikTok has enabled some users to rise to fame and make a career from the app. Stars like Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio now have a sponsorship with Morphe, and others, like Addison Rae, have a Spotify-exclusive podcast.
TikTok is unique in that it gives money to its top creators. The company has funneled $1 billion into the app to help creators build their platforms. The app has been working towards obtaining access to the entertainment world for its creators, which would involve TV contracts and music deals. TikTok regularly runs ads featuring different creators from the app in order to increase those creators’ visibility. TikTok has provided a platform for those whose talents are obscure and not commonly recognized. If TikTok were to be banned in America, it would mean the loss of income for creators, and for many, there would be nowhere else to go to display their talents. TikTok has become integrated into youth culture today, and the banning of the popular app would mean the end of numerous people’s careers and livelihoods.