The question still remains over whether President Trump will win the fight over Chinese company ByteDance, in his battle to shut down the app TikTok.
The popular social media app loved by many teenagers including myself, is used to create short videos ranging from dance trends, to people creating art. However some types of videos which have been posted on the app are sometimes inappropriate in nature, and have caused parents to have concern over whether their children should be using the app. The New York Times have said that they are concerned that the app is collecting information from children under the age of 13, without parental permission. If so, this violates U.S. privacy laws, and demonstrates that children are having access to social media apps sometimes without their parents knowledge. This explains why President Trump believes the app poses a threat to users, and felt necessary to file a preliminary injunction to stop TikTok being downloaded from U.S. app stores.
Rumour spread that the app would gradually be removed in every country, however this is yet to happen yet. With the social media app having 500 million users worldwide and many popular content creators who are able to earn money from TikTok, there is no surprise that the app is still up and running almost everywhere. The only country which has outright banned TikTok so far is India, claiming that Chinese made apps are a danger to the country and that the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order” (According to the BBC). Along with India, Pakistan have put it on notice for featuring content that is deemed inappropriate.
Having said this, the social media app certainly has a lot of likability about it, with the maximum length of a video being one minute long, it entertains teenagers with a short attention span. The app features videos on the ‘For You’ page, which are TikToks that are similar to those you have been watching, making you more likely to keep scrolling for hours on end. During lock down, the app has definitely given people a creative outlet, whether it’s joining in on a dance craze with your family or showing off your singing talent, it has not only given teenagers something different to do, but has also incorporated those of an older age group into the picture. I think that the problem may lie in the age rating of the app: 12+. With mature themes, nudity and offensive language being seen more and more on the app, I feel as though it would be more appropriate for the age rating to be moved up to 17+ across app stores. Some may argue that the app’s intention is child friendly and fun, however if parents want to protect their children, I can’t see those who enjoy posting more mature content stopping what they’re doing without their TikTok’s being removed, or the app being outright banned. Therefore I feel as though the best way to solve the issues which people have been facing and to allow the app to include all themes, would be to stop letting children have access to social media apps so young.
On October 8th 2020, the federal government appealed a judge’s ruling that prevented the Trump administration from imposing a ban on TikTok. As TikTok declined to comment on the claim, the Justice Department spokeswoman said it had no further comment beyond the appeal. This has delayed TikTok from being banned in U.S. app stores, and the battle between Trump and ByteDance continues for now, due to the war between the US and the Chinese government. TikTok will remain on people’s phones for the moment, but the worry is still there for US citizens, especially if the app cannot be adapted to make all users and parents happy.