BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- Don’t be alarmed if your mom doesn’t call you back, she will get back to you as soon as she finishes her TikTok.
The isolation during the pandemic made TikTok a staple for people of all ages, but the recent threat by President Donald Trump to ban the app in the United States has users worried about how much longer than can soaking up the online content.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is a creative app that allows users to create 15-60 second videos anywhere and at any time. TikTok users record their videos to “audios” - shortened versions of songs or funny voice overs - and hope to get their video on the “For You” page, which is a part of every user's feed.
On the “For You” page, TikTok chooses videos that have gained a certain number of “likes” to put on this page for millions more users to see.
Recently TikTok has been at the forefront of a government battle to ban the use of and further downloads of the application.The Trump administration had planned to ban the Chinese owned app in the fear that valuable data was being collected, a threat to our national security.
On September 18, President Donald Trump issued executive orders saying that TikTok would be shut down if an American company did not step in to purchase it. The computer software company Oracle offered to store all of the United States’ users’ data on its cloud servers to meet the national security requirements. Additionally, Walmart offered to take a share of the application. However, the deal has not yet been approved by China or the parent company.
Due to a decision by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, users will still be able to access TikTok until at least November 12, 2020. Unless the deal for TikTok Global can be finalized by then, TikTok will no longer be distributed in U.S. app stores and there will be no further updates.
TikTok users were immediately disappointed and in disagreement that an application so embedded in their daily routine might be deleted.
Expressing her dissatisfaction, sophomore Caroline Freer said, “I was upset when I found out that TikTok was getting deleted because I have so many draft videos I made with my friends that I did not want to be removed.”
In agreement, junior Mia Tomas said “I definitely wasn’t happy because I’m always on TikTok when I’m bored, so I felt like I was going to have nothing to do in my free time.”
But Tomas did say that the ban of TikTok would be a good thing because she wouldn’t be on her phone so much.
Stating disbelief that an app would be banned in the United States, junior Connor Tracy said, “My initial reaction when I heard TikTok was going to be banned was disbelief. I never thought an app so big and popular would be restricted in America. I honestly can't really imagine life without TikTok.”
While TikTok’s future is up in the air, students see the value in the app beyond entertainment. While isolated during the quarantine, senior Hayden Sobel said he turned to TikTok as another place to get the latest stories.
“Tiktok actually helped me learn a lot about COVID-19 and other issues going on in the world [at the time],” Sobel said.
The application continues to share information about newsworthy current events such as the political race, Black Lives Matter, climate change, and local news.
Junior Samantha Roenbeck said, “There's a lot of informative and helpful videos that get spread around.”
Verified accounts also use their platform to spread awareness on current issues. Charli D’Amelio, a verified and rising star, has used her account and influence to support Black Lives Matter movement, anti-bullying, to raise awareness for the victims of the Lebanon blasts, and much more.
The news about TikTok is constantly changing. While the platform has its advantages and disadvantages, its widespread use simply cannot be ignored. In the meantime, users are left hanging until the final decision on the ban takes place.