Creators Fight Back Against Rumored TikTok Ban
TikTok users thwarted Donald Trump once when they reportedly overwhelmed his campaign with fake sign-ups for his June 20th Tulsa rally, and they’re ready to do it again. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Trump administration was “looking at” banning Chinese apps like TikTok due to privacy concerns, and on Tuesday Trump himself appeared to suggest it could be a form of retaliation against China, which was home to the first COVID-19 outbreak. A spokesperson for TikTok denied the insinuation that the app has provided user data to the Chinese government, but its users are taking matters into their own hands.
“The first thing I felt was sad for the millions of people who watch TikToks as their entertainment for fun, comedy, tutorials and so much more,” creator Ellie Zeiler, 16, who has over five million TikTok followers, says over email when asked about the potential ban. “TikTok has become such a big part of people's lives, especially since COVID started, and I know in my family it's given us so many laughs and is a way of connecting with each other.”
On Twitter, the hashtag #SaveTikTok has gained traction, with popular creators like Tony Lopez and Dixie D’Amelio tweeting the message (though D’Amelio’s tweet included a typo). A user even started a Change.org petition to prevent the app from being banned, and has obtained more than 600 signatures. It didn’t help that on Wednesday, TikTok experienced a glitch that reverted a number of video likes and views to zero, causing mass panic that the feared ban had suddenly gone into effect.
As a result of the chaos, a handful of users have already made plans for what their post-TikTok world may look like, frantically encouring their followers to find them on YouTube or Instagram in case TikTok suddenly disappears. Popular Instagram account TikTokRoom, which documents the daily (or often, hourly) drama between TikTok creators, said over email that their work won’t be affected if the app shuts down in the U.S., because they’d still continue to cover the influencers wherever they go from TikTok.
Zeiler, who has been featured on TikTokRoom, was already planning on officially launching her YouTube channel in the coming weeks.
“YouTube has always been an ideal platform for me,” Zeiler says. “Now that it's summer I finally have more time to dedicate to vlogging and editing. I'll continue to post on Instagram and stay active on other platforms like Snapchat.”
But according to BuzzFeed News, a significant subset of creators are attempting to rebuild the TikTok community over on Byte, a reboot of Vine by the original app’s co-founder Dom Hofmann. While Byte is nowhere near as advanced as TikTok in terms of filters, design, or capabilities, a sudden rush of new users are hoping to capitalize on its unmined potential. The app has already announced plans to catch up to TikTok’s most beloved features, like the ability to like and reply to comments and use sounds from other videos.
by popular demand, here’s some stuff you’ll see on byte very soon.— byte (@byte_app) July 9, 2020
💬 comment liking/replies
🤓 more control over your algorithm
🔡 better text tools
🚀 faster performance
🔔 better notifications
🎨 more customization for your page
🔔 sounds! upload/use sounds from other videos
For some, the recent drama between creators has them practically welcoming a ban.
“Honestly i think tik tok has changed so many people lives for good but recently it has just become an overwhelmingly toxic community,” creator and Sway House member Jaden Hossler tweeted on Thursday. “I hope it’s not gone forever, but maybe it’s a good break?”