Hard Times for TikTok

Corinne Salter

TikTok users nation-wide had another scare last week, as President Donald Trump announced on the morning of Friday, September 18th that people in the United States would no longer be able to download the hit app starting Sunday, September 20th, the app later being fully banned for American users in mid-November. While the threat proved to be empty, due to Trump overestimating his powers as President, this announcement comes after several calls from him to get rid of the sensational social media platform. In early August, the 45th president even went so far as to declare TikTok a “national emergency”, raising questions about this urgency, which coincidentally came soon after users on the app orchestrated a “prank” of sorts, reserving tens of thousands of seats to a Tulsa, Oklahoma Trump rally, only to not attend and shock the president with an empty audience. This sabotage is only a small example of the prevalent anti -Trump rhetoric on TikTok, an app used mostly by Gen Z, a generation known for being uniquely critical of the United States and its government. 


The US Department of Commerce claims that the Chinese-owned app threatens the “national security, foreign policy, and economy of the US,” but Gen Z is not convinced. “I think it’s the start to an unlawful internet censorship, and its purpose isn’t to keep American security safe,” says Gracie Silverstein, recent graduate of Whitney Young ‘20. Nandi Myhand ‘21, current Whitney Young senior, is taken aback by the extreme focus on such a trivial matter. “There should be more measures in place to protect the country in other, more relevant ways. Why are we so focused on national security and China in times like this?” 


Not only are TikTok users frustrated and confused by this news, but they pre-maturely mourn an app that they have become so attached to. Users praise TikTok for being one of the best social media apps right now, being more convenient and user-friendly than others, and having an algorithm that allows anyone to go viral. Nia Lambert, ’21 felt a connection to TikTok users, “TikTok made me really happy and helped me find people I could relate to. Now that it’s being attacked I’m feeling a sense of disconnect.” Freshman Grace Fitzpatrick ‘24 feels “silenced”, and she is not the only one. Banning apps is toeing the line of censorship, and seems to be infringing upon the freedoms that the United States is so fond of. Watch closely people, and ask yourself, how far is too far?