But where will the children go play??
With over 800 million active users all over the world, TikTok is one of the most popular apps among millennials and zoomers, i.e. Gen Z. Not only is it a platform used to upload videos of challenges, dances, and funny skits, but it has also become a powerful tool for the younger generations to speak out about the world’s current events.
It’s no surprise, then, that many politicians and people in power have had their doubts about the app. Thousands of users have been victims of shadow banning—the act of partially blocking content so it doesn’t reach the platform’s entire community of users. Videos about the LGBT community, human rights in certain countries, religious subjects, and political issues have been the main target, but the list goes on.
Users in China, India, Indonesia, and Hong Kong have witnessed censorship firsthand. And thanks to recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. users are now fearful the TikTok ban will reach them too.
“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too…” Pompeo said. He also added his alleged concerns on how users are willfully putting their “private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
A few days after Pompeo’s statement, many users across the U.S. freaked out when they realized TikTok wasn’t displaying likes, leading them to think this was the beginning of the government shutting down the app for good. Although TikTok assured them that it was just a glitch and that they were “working to quickly fix things”, users remained suspicious.
All this led to a big question—is the possible ban truly for the safety of the people? Or is it, as usual, due to political issues? For most, the answer was as clear as water.
Millennials and Gen Z-ers didn’t hesitate to share their opinions on social media, which went from jokes to more serious and controversial statements.
With many countries already banning either some of the content in TikTok or the app itself, users still can’t help but think the U.S. ban is likely going to happen soon. Although nothing is certain yet, this issue leaves us questioning the true intentions behind governments fighting apps like TikTok. Who are they really afraid of—espionage professionals, or people using these platforms to speak out freely?