Think Twitter has problems?
They do, but at least they’re not having to fight the U.S. government and the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) to prove that they’re not spying on their users and waging a secret war against Americans.
For a while Chinese-based ByteDance which owns TikTok has been treading on thin ice with the FCC calling upon Apple and Google to ban the app. As I wrote in July of last year, in “TikTok is it Worth the Privacy Concerns?” the company was struggling with the aftermath of a leaked report to BuzzFeed showing they had access to private US user data.
This really turned up the fire with more voices in congress seeking a ban and the pressure hasn’t let up.
As reported on by Vox, “The ban TikTok is now facing would forbid its China-based parent company, ByteDance, from doing business in the United States, which would block Apple and Google from hosting the TikTok app in their app stores. It wouldn’t make it illegal for you, the consumer, to use TikTok. It would just make it much harder to do so.”
But realistically, could TikTok really get kicked out of America?
Or are these idle threats designed to make the company clean up their act?
If it’s any indication, TikTok is definitely worried.
According to Vox, they spent $4.18 million on lobbyists in the first three quarters of 2021, signed a lease for an office in DC, hired big wig Jamal Brown, to do damage control as their policy communications director, spent three years negotiating with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, and spent 1 billion on Project Texas which is meant to move US users data to servers inside the USA.
They’re doing everything to make sure a ban doesn’t become reality.
However, in my opinion I don’t think a ban is going to happen.
As discussed by Vox, the biggest feather in TikTok’s cap is their user base which is going to raise hell if the government takes it away from them.
Though ByteDance could be forced to sell TikTok to a US friendly entity to get the green light to stay in America, that’s a far cry from it being gone. 100 million users enjoy the app and that’s a lot of angry voters who will make their voices heard at the polls if it’s censored.
Moreover, Americans pride themselves on freedom of speech and “censorship” is a dirty word. Being told they can’t use an app is going to cause outrage and rebellion with comparisons to communist countries that regulate what their people can and can’t see on the Internet.
Therefore, I think we can be cautiously optimistic that TikTok is going to remain a social media outlet for content creators because it’s too risky to incur the wrath of pissed off voters. However, I think it would be smart for cammers to back up their posts in case Congress surprises all of us and really does go through with kicking TikTok out of the country.
One way to do this is to sign up for YNOT’s Mastodon account and copy every TikTok post in there that you’ve made so your work is not lost if the app goes south in 2023. Sign up at YNOTNetwork.com.
Photo credit: iStock.com/hapabapa
Alyssa Collins hails from Minnesota, where snowy days were the perfect excuse to stay warm inside and write. Over the years, she turned that joy into a career and has authored numerous articles for various publications (under pen names). Email Alyssa via firstname.lastname@example.org.