With all odds at its bestowal, TikTok is poised to be the most popular app in the world. From the beginning, TikTok focused on sharing minute-long entertainment videos for the mass and thus won the hearts of Generation Z.
TikTok has an 800+ million global subscriber base, with over two billion downloads on the App Store (Mohsin 2020). Its user engagement pulled Facebook & Google of their comfort to launch their replica of the platform. For records, YouTube started with minute-long videos only after TikTok got banned in India.
The ban of TikTok in India also resulted in an astonishing number of copies under the Make in India initiative. So far, no platform could get the actual juice of TikTok the way the secret sauce of KFC is only known to the folks at KFC. Safe to say that TikTok can sustain the legal flu courtesy its ingenious coding team.
In February 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused Musical.ly, now part of TikTok, or call them conjoined twins, for COPPA violation. As per FTC.COV, “Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, has agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that the company illegally collected personal information from children.” Note that it was the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the Commission in a children’s privacy case in America.
With rising concern around technology and privacy issues accelerated by COVID19 and cybersecurity concerns, President Trump uses the FTC violation to publicly announce a ban on TikTok to halt users’ ability to download or receive updates for TikTok. The ban, irrespective of its total effect on data security that America suffers and subjects the world to, as per the President, it will keep the Chinese espionage observatory in Beijing from rattling his focus on winning the upcoming US Presidential Election 2020. Also, who can say how the woke Gen Z won’t topple Trump using this video-sharing app?
So, with pressures from within his intellectual limitations, domestic users, and the international community, President Trump asked TikTok to sell its limb to an American company. Microsoft and Oracle were the top suitors for this video-sharing app that has been generously donating to the COVID fund and even monitoring the platform to contain misuse and misinformation influencing the US Presidential Election 2020. According to sources, TikTok has chosen Oracle over Microsoft as ByteDance’s technology partner to manage TikTok’s US user data.
All things said and done, TikTok considers Trumps’ publicity of the TikTok ban unjust and unlawful that infringed the company rights for which they are in a legal battle with the WhiteHouse. Judge Carl Nichols of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a temporary injunction to Trump’s attempt to ban TikTok. TikTok’s legal authorities have taken this in good spirit to face the US authorities for the impending ban scheduled for Nov. 12, 2020.
While the world awaits America’s final judgment of TikTok, the premise that this situation has invited us to brings to the sight of how data security is America’s integral problem. Today, Google & Facebook are constantly accessing data of its global users and fetching them to their authorities in the US. These two technology giants talk about consent to improve useability and security, but subliminally they control everything about individual operations to business level.
Should we then have to think like China, build our apps, and return to being frogs in the well, put a full stop to globalization and shrink to being unicellular organisms? What’s happening?