The Future of TikTok Is Looking … Lame
TikTok, the preferred app of Gen Z, will potentially be owned by two of the most boomer companies in existence. The New York Times has reported that Microsoft, which previously expressed interest in taking the video app out of the hands of its Chinese parent company Bytedance, is now teaming up with ... Walmart ... to put in a bid.
This move comes after President Trump gave the app until September 15 to find new ownership. TikTok subsequently sued the administration. And then, last night, the app’s CEO, Kevin Mayer, announced he’s resigning his role.
Microsoft and Walmart are not the companies that come to mind when anyone pictured TikTok’s shiny American-owned future. The app’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past year, largely thanks to America’s suddenly sedentary, internet-dependent status during the pandemic. TikTok, not to sound lame, is pretty much the coolest thing happening right now (though I’ll admit the bar is low). So to think that it’s future may now be in the hands of a company whose hottest consumer product is something called Microsoft Flight Simulator and another that’s, well, Walmart, is disheartening, to say the least.
“We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of U.S. TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of U.S. government regulators,” Walmart told The NYT in a statement so corporate it only made the possibility seem all the more bleak.
I guess anything that keeps TikTok as a functioning app with which I can lose hours of time scrolling on my couch is good, but I can’t help but feel it deserves better. Where was Netflix? Where was Apple? Even Amazon would make some sense given how prevalent their products are in the videos on the app (although TikTok would have to get over that little thing of Amazon banning and unbanning the app from its employees’ phones). It’s likely Walmart and Microsoft are hoping TikTok will be the thing that rehabilitates their stale reputations, but I worry this could instead kneecap the app’s currently limitless potential.