We got to give it to Kesha. Her 2009 debut single really proved prophetic, didn’t it. Who knew, years later we’d all be jamming and finding our escape on an app developed miles away. But if things are ironed out in place of Douyin, or Tik Tok, the party will actually stop. No pop. No DJ to blow the speakers up.
Earlier this year, and well into the COVID break-out, Tik Tok made news for all the wrong reasons. Within four years of release in 2016, the video sharing social media platform had percolated amongst inarguably the most remote and inaccessible of places. Breaking through barriers of class, country and race. No wonder then, July 2020 saw close to 700 million downloads of the app, worldwide.
First red flags
The gloom had to set in amidst sunshine. Soon enough there were concerns, not only about the app misusing the voluminous data it had access to but also the kind of non-censored content being made available to its users. One of the earliest such concerns was raised in an Indian court of law early in 2019 where the bench asked the Government of India to ban the app. But muddled later in matters of geopolitics and supplementary concerns of data privacy, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information completely banned the app in June this year. Last heard, the Indian Government is looking to entertain fresh responses from Tik Tok, in what could possibly set the stage for the app’s re-entry into Indian territory.
Almost dead end
In more recent times, the United States of America has been making quite the buzz with respect to the incumbent regime’s vocal unease with Tik Tok. The recent turn of events however kickstarted with the US President making a public statement, to the tunes of Tik Tok misusing the accumulated information on US citizens, colliding with the Chinese government. This, the President felt, would feed into efforts to “track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
While Tik Tok’s parent company ByteDance, a Chinese tech company filed lawsuits against the administration for not allowing them to be heard and given a fair chance at defending their stance, matters only got worse. The US administration issued two orders in this regard – one that would bar all US transactions with ByteDance and another that ordered the tech company to sell all its US operations by later this year.
All’s well that ends well
But before the first order could come into effect, hours before it did actually, matters seem to have gotten under control. Courtesy American software company Oracle, and retail company Walmart. While the former now has a 12.5 per cent stake in the company (not just Tik Tok anymore, but TikTok Global), Walmart will have a 7.5 per cent stake. All but one board member of the company will be American, with the headquarters in America. Oracle is expected to provide cloud services, thus putting to rest all fears of data breach and national security threats. However ByteDance might still own close to 80 percent of TikTok Global which will include global operations, except in China.
All in all, it’s been quite amusing. With close to 100 million users in the US alone, TikTok is quite the go-to platform these days. Some even called bluff on the President’s claims of actually banning the app. While there were also reports that the President was actually miffed with some Gne Z content on the app that actually led to one of his rallies being sabotaged.
We are as amused as you.
But do we have a TikToker in the house? If yes, let us know what you make of the circus!