Browsing TikTok is a favourite past time for so many people, Nigerians alike so it was no surprise that there was widespread panic when the video-sharing platform suddenly started glitching. Soon the trend #RIPTikTok coursed through social media, as people feared the Chinese-owned product was on its way to an early grave; with the rumoured news of a TikTok ban adding credence to these speculations. However, if this was the case, and the app is on the verge of being erased, why should we care?
— Laith🇵🇸 (@laithalishious) July 9, 2020
Tiktok is glitching… what the hailll we gon do now #riptiktok
— Katrina Stuart (@KatStuartMusic) July 9, 2020
Since its launch in 2017, TikTok has amassed more than 800 million active users, with more people flocking to the platform during this current pandemic. The app has also placed a footing in the Nigerian market with citizens and celebrities engaging in video challenges and short, entertaining videos on the app. But with the increasing love for TikTok, there’s also been increasing privacy concerns.
The platform is owned by ByteDance, based in Beijing and is rumoured to have close affiliations with the Chinese government. In April, a viral video of United States’ politicians accusing the platform of sharing their user data with the government circulated across social media; causing strained distress. Critics have accused the app of being a potential spying threat with lawmakers mandating that top officials in the US government delete the app. Most recently, President of the United States of America, Donald Trump has communicated his intentions of banning the app entirely in the country.
— Mawuli (@buabaj_) April 3, 2020
The US is not the only country to take decisive action against the app – India posited this week that it would ban TikTok and other Chinese apps after a conflict between Indian and Chinese soldiers.
These developments have spelt considerable loss for the company, and their supposed role in the Black Lives Movement has not helped any matters. In the heat of the campaign, when the fight against police brutality and racism was at its most intense, it was reported that TikTok was allegedly censoring activism videos calling for justice for George Floyd. This alleged restriction led to fresh outrage as youths called for people to delete their TikTok apps.
Little wonder that with the current issues affecting the video-sharing platform, some black people are expressing indifference to their predicament; accusing the app of being “racist”.
America is finally banning TikTok? That racist, anti black app? The one where people do blackface? The one where people leave racist ass comments on other Black creators posts? The one where they blocked the BLM and George Floyd hashtag? The one where they don’t take down racist-
— key ✊🏾 | BLM (@wonderfulkeyana) July 7, 2020
Tik tok getting banned? LETS FUCKING GOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/hqy2mTjxUF
— en_dav (@en_davv) July 7, 2020
Some Nigerians also added to the conversation that if the US and India were banning TikTok, Nigeria should also follow suit. At the same time, some joked that our politicians aren’t even aware of the app, not to talk of banning it.
TikTok has already been taken down in USA and China…
The app serves the same purpose as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Google or even more cos the app pays people.
Do Nigeria need to ban TikTok???.#RIPtiktok
— GoOdY Of LaGoS ™️ (@MrGoody_) July 10, 2020
I think it's time to ban tiktok in Nigeria
— Khalifah (@_iamsaulawa) July 9, 2020
Nigeria 🇳🇬 politicians doesn’t even know what tiktok is so they can’t ban it except it will be an avenue to loot 🥴
— Augustine Daniels (@Osazuwadaniels) July 7, 2020
However, there are still those campaigning against the rumoured ban and antagonism against TikTok, asserting that it would tremendously affect the lives of black influencers who make a profit off the platform.
tiktok possibly being gone or banned is actually sad for so many of the creators that finally got their recognition. these are young adults that had doors open for them and y’all only twitter people are bitter for them living and making a name/coin for themselves
— lauren (@lauuuuurennnnnn) July 9, 2020
In an attempt to quell the agitations due to the app’s malfunction, the TikTok company released a statement saying the platform is back up and running and was down because of high traffic. It seems as though the app hasn’t been banned yet, and whether or not it should be, globally is still an ongoing conversation.
Update: we're back! Apologies for the issues, feel free to enjoy your regularly scheduled For You feed. https://t.co/A5UYhOzHCA
— TikTok (@tiktok_us) July 10, 2020
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks