How do American TikTokers see President Trump signing an executive order banning TikTok?

4 mn read

The social media platform TikTok has become a form of escape for people of all ages to dance, lip-sync and laugh during quarantine. The video-sharing app has reached 100 million people in the United States, but President Donald Trump stands against it. The president issued an executive order aiming to ban TikTok because of national security concerns. The app is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and has been under scrutiny after the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused it of sharing user data with the Chinese government.

Photo: The White House/Facebook

TikTok denied the claims in a statement saying that U.S. user data is only stored inside the U.S. and that the app “has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request.” The company described the executive order as a risk “undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth.” According to the app tracker called Sensor Tower, Tiktok has been downloaded 2 billion times around the world and has 85 million monthly active users in the U.S.

The sudden news left many TikTokers heartbroken about the possibility of no longer being able to use the platform. Some of America’s most famous TikTok Stars such as Charli D’amelio, Zach King, and Addison Rae rushed to encourage their followers to see their further content on other social media sites like YouTube and Instagram instead. Days after the potential ban was announced Instagram released their newest feature called “Reels,” which is a similar way to edit 15-second multi-clip videos. It is being referred to as the “TikTok Clone,” due to its perfect timing to start competing with the video-sharing app.  The ban could deeply affect content creators and business owners who use the app as a traffic and sale source as well.

Photo: Sandy Lin/TikTok

Sandy Lin, a TikTok creator who founded her own company when she was 19, told Eat News, it would “be definitely devastating if the app was banned.” She inspires over 150 thousand followers on TikTok with short looping videos filled with dancing and tips on how to start a business. TikTok has changed Lin’s life by giving her the chance of sharing educational content about her love for entrepreneurship and helping others achieve their dreams.  Similarly to how she started her first company called Dog Spotted as a student at Northeastern University in Boston, which is a puppy-friendly company based on expert advice on dog products, trends, and more. Lin explained that Dog Spotted isn’t brought up too much on her account so the ban wouldn’t hurt it, “On the other hand, Small Business Tips is mainly based off my audience on TikTok and it is my largest social media channel.” Lin will keep working on diversifying her following to other social media sites to continue supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, “As a business owner and content creator, I would definitely be uploading more content on Instagram reels in case anything happens to TikTok.”

Photo: Lewa/TikTok

Other users have already started to promote their brands and videos on other platforms. Lewa, a senior at New York University, started making TikToks eight months ago to help build her brand as a fashion model. “I basically post whatever I want on my TikTok and that’s why I think it’s such a great platform for self expression because anything can be considered content on there.” In her videos, Lewa shows off unique outfits with different hairstyles to match and transforms herself from a no make-up look to a full-glam look with filters and transitions the app offers. She mentioned, “I really get to be myself on this platform and people follow me for just that!” Although she is relatively new to the app she has reached over 106 thousand followers, “I have found many different communities within TikTok that I fit in and befriended.” Making slow motion and time lapsed videos has become part of her daily routine that she does not want to put an end to. Lewa plans on staying on TikTok through the current uncertainty but feels open to re-posting her TikToks and creating new content on Instagram Reels to keep growing her audience.

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The president’s threat comes a month after thousands of TikTok users, who were majority Gen Zers, encouraged viewers to register online to his June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with no intentions of attending. The president tweeted days leading up the rally that almost one million people had requested tickets, however the city’s fire department reported only a total of 6,200 people in attendance. The president said he would take actions to ban the app through his executive order or by using emergency economic powers.The same week, Microsoft Corporation’s CEO Satya Nadella said it is pushing forward to buy TikTok after a conversation with the president. TikTok’s last hope could be Microsoft but it needs US officials to sign-off on the deal first and may have to make a payment to the US Treasury. The app now has a month until a potential shut down, after the president set September 15 as the deadline to find a US buyer.

In the meantime TikTok’s US General Manager, Vanessa Pappas, shared a message on the app assuring American users “We’re not planning on going anywhere.” The company plans on bringing in 10,000 new jobs into the country over the next 3 years to join the current 1,500 American employees. As well as a one million dollar fund to support creators and the process of building a safer app.

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Victoria Gonzalez is a U.S. correspondent for Eat News who covers a variety of topics about the entertainment world and politics.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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