Ultimate Gen-Z Scare: Possible TikTok Ban in the U.S.


Austin Rubinger

Social Media Scare: Senior Jillian Dacey and other Tik Tok savvy Dubs fear the demise of their favorite app.

TikTok, as all Gen Zers know, is a popular app used to cure boredom — especially over these quarantine months. North Atlanta students and teens all over the country have been TikTok fanatics but — the disappointments keep coming in 2020 — there’s possible trouble ahead that could get in the way of our screentime fun. 

In July President Donald Trump told reporters he was looking into banning the app in the United States. Many teens were sent into a frenzy, preparing for it to perish in response to Trump’s follow-up statement that he’d sign a document that would ban TikTok the next day. Instead, he said if TikTok were not sold to an American company in 45 days the app would be banned in the US, leaving users to worry about the future of the app.

Created by Beijing company ByteDance, TikTok was merged with the former hit app musical.ly in 2017. It quickly rose to stardom in the US with approximately 100 million users, with 60 percent being teenagers. It isn’t rare to find students around school endlessly swiping through TikTok.

Privacy and safety concerns raised after ByteDance was suspected of obtaining users’ personal information. It was banned in India due to data stolen from citizens and sent to foreign servers and was subject to a $5.7 million fine over illegally collected information of children. The Trump Administration suggests that the company is sharing American information to China’s government. Most recently Donald Trump issued an order directing ByteDance to divest interest in TikTok’s US operations and destroy all data taken from American TikTok users. ¨I wasn’t really phased by Trump saying he’d ban it,” said sophomore Paige Clayton, an avid TikToker user with 5000-plus followers. “I know something like that would take a decently long time to do.¨

Videos on the app cover wide ranges of topics, dances and pop culture trends. Equipped with filters and many sounds to choose from, TikTok is a massive hook for teenage audiences. Because it’s such a popular place to express creativity and information, many are dismayed at the possibility of TikTok vanishing. However, not everyone is bothered by a possible ban. Sophomore Adanna Majekodunmi is one of some who don’t care much for the possible fall of the star-studded app. “There can be harmful content on the app, it’s toxic, and it definitely could steal information from users,” she said.

As more is revealed about TikTok and ByteDance, users across the country await a decision on what will happen to the app. Hopes are brought up and down by rumors of American companies such as Microsoft considering purchasing the app’s U.S. operations. According to the executive order, 90 days is on the clock for the social media service. So Dubs, get to work on becoming TikTok famous before time runs out.