Here's a thread on some thoughts I have on the banning on TikTok, based on what I've read lately from brilliant colleagues but also on my own experience as a TikTok creator (and the only journalist as far as I'm aware to both publish + explicitly newsgather on there).
The reason it got into the news is because India banned it last week, seeing it as a threat alongside 58 other Chinese-owned apps because of conflict on the India-China border. India has banned TikTok before - and then reinstated it. It's its biggest overseas market.
Video rivals are doing really well rn in India, cashing in on user downloads while TikTok is down. Because Mike Pompeo spoke about the India ban last week AND because of Huawei, it's suddenly made a TikTok ban elsewhere seem more feasible. it?
Lots of experts are saying it is no more troubling - permissions-wise - than Facebook. That's important. Be careful of xenophobia masking as privacy concerns. Secondly - data storage. TikTok say US data's in the US and European data is in Ireland.
But people are questioning whether TikTok is telling the truth about this. It has repetitively denied it shares data with the Chinese government and has been working very hard over the pandemic to put forward a global brand image that's in charge of itself.
TikTok users have been flaming TikTok ban rumours, and the TikTok outage that happened the other day flamed them even more. Influencers are saying there's a ban in the hope followers will go and follow them on YT and IG.
This is because they want to build bigger (and monetisable) followings away from TikTok. TikTok followings help boost other app followings BUT never 'to scale'. E.g. I have over 90k followers there but I've gained only about 4k on IG from my TikTok following
So yeah - getting their fans to freak out about a 'ban' and rush to follow them elsewhere is useful. Obviously this builds a sense of general freakout. It doesn't help TikTok has a long list of controversial stories about its moderation and algorithm.
TikTok users skew young and are incredibly digitally literate - they are very aware of an algorithm that often doesn't work in their favour. It is no surprise to them it gets TikTok into trouble - so the idea of the app being banned, again, feels like it makes sense.
I went live the other day when everyone was doing lives about the TikTok ban - I got so many comments that were like 'you're the only one I trust here', 'everyone is freaking out', 'thanks for explaining it calmly!' there is SO much misinfo about the 'tiktok ban' on there
Also, both YouTube and Instagram are launching short-form rivals to TikTok right now on their platforms. They are taking full advantage of the fact that there is all this negative press about TikTok.
Losing TikTok in the UK or US would be catastrophic for a number of young people who aren't only earning money from it but have found palpable online communities that IG and YT simply haven't done in the same way before. It's how they consume news and stay in touch with mates.
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