September 25, 2020

Opinion: Should TikTok be banned?

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he plans on banning the popular, short-form video app, TikTok, unless the United States portion of the app is bought out by an American company. 

This news came after U.S. officials shared concerns about TikTok potentially providing China’s government with data collected from American users. The company has since sued the Trump Administration. 

Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash.

Ever since President Trump made his initial statement, Microsoft Corp. (partnered with Walmart Inc.) has expressed interest in buying out the U.S. portion of TikTok and aims to finish the deal by Sept. 15. However, if no deal is reached and TikTok is not sold by its Chinese parent companies, then the app will most likely be banned from operating in the U.S. 

This is a polarizing issue that many people have disagreed on, but the general consensus among TikTok’s users is that the app deserves to stay. I personally am one of those users who genuinely believe that TikTok does more good than harm, and I have three reasons as to why I believe that.

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash.

Recognition for Small Creators:

One of the many features of TikTok that attracts users to the app is how easy it is to go viral, or have your content seen by many people. TikTok isn’t as selective as some other social media platforms when it comes to the content that is shown to users. 

On my “For You” page, which is the content that I am shown based on my particular interests, I will be shown videos that already have millions of views or I will be shown videos that haven’t even reached 1,000 views yet. 

This is especially helpful for users who are trying to promote their small business on TikTok. I’ve even purchased from these small creators on a few different occasions after being shown their content on my feed. 

The Algorithm:

TikTok arguably has the best algorithm compared to all other social media platforms. A social media algorithm is the way that users’ feed is sorted based on what is relevant to their particular interests. 

When TikTok was first rising in popularity users couldn’t stop talking about how specific their “For You” page was to them. The more you interact with videos on TikTok by liking, commenting, sharing, etc., the easier it is for the app to know what you like to see on your feed. 

User safety is also taken into consideration with the algorithm, as is the case with most other social media platforms. Content depicting nudity or any other graphic images that some may find offensive is usually blocked by the algorithm before being filtered into anyone’s feed.

A Sense of Community:

The past 6 months have been overwhelming to say the least. When the whole world was stuck in quarantine at the same time, many of us spent a lot of our free time scrolling through the endless stream of uniquely-tailored videos on TikTok. 

Something I’ve observed since the beginning of this global pandemic is that TikTok has managed to make this feel like a shared experience, rather than something we have to go through alone. At the beginning my feed was filled with people sharing how they were managing their mental health and spending their time while in quarantine. 

There is a certain sense of community on TikTok that has been comforting for a lot of people, especially given the current state of the world. To ban TikTok in the U.S. would be to take away a valuable resource for people, and that is the last thing we need right now. 

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