By – Yogita Malhotra
While some applications(Time to red flag TikTok amid China’s unbiased aggression) have previously existed in the World of social media, no other app, other than TikTok, the most popular video-sharing social networking app has beenable to captivate the space in individual’s phones and their lives.
The application is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet technology launched in 2016 in China and pushed out globally the following year.
Surprisingly, as of 2018, it has been made available in over 150 markets and 75 languages. Specifically, in India, as of 2019, it was estimated that there were 120 million monthly Tiktok users active, and reportedly more users than Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Does the question arise as to why has it been able to gain the attention of people?
It can be used effortlessly only by swiping the videos up and down, allowing users to capture themselves up to 15-60 seconds with background music which can be chosen from an enormous variety of music genres with the advantage of adding their sound using the lip-synched feature to their popular songs, and of course by gaining myriads of followers and likes on their posts.
Moreover, there has been a range of various trends (hashtags and challenges) which keeps on popping up on the app to retain the curiosity of the people.
There is no doubt in believing that not only children and millennials are glued to TikTok, but also men and women of all ages have been indulged into its awful mirth as videos of self-styled gods, beauticians, fitness trainers, budding artists, chefs, models, and even actors, etc keep surfacing on Tiktok feed every second.
In recent years, there has been an air of #banTikTok India on platforms due to the immoral, sexist, and obscene comments observed by netizens. Due to widespread controversies, it was finally banned by the Madras High Court for three months in April 2019, but it gained support again.
On May 18, 2020, a video of a Tiktok star Faizal Siddique, was accused of promoting acid attacks on women went viral and resultantly, the National Commission for Women (NCW) wrote on Twitter, “I am taking it up today itself with both police and Tiktok.”
Even after several heated disputes in India, stern action has not been taken against the use of Tiktok.
Moreover, it adversely affects the people psychologically and mentally: they become addicted, remain impatient to spend their time making videos, also those who only watch these videos. Neglecting its dark side, parents are seen filming with their kids or filming their kids to gain popularity.
In addition to this, various deaths have been reported in 2019, evidently, in August 2019, three youngsters were found killed by a train as they were making Tiktok videos on the railway track.
I come to a question, even after the surfacing of such imbecile acts, why are people still hell-bent on using this application? Especially during the times of Covid-19, hit by boredom, they have been relentlessly engrossing themselves in it.
A new feature “Family safety mode” has been recently added in February 2020 for parents to be able to control the digital wellbeing of children which enables users to have a restricted mode by managing the screen time and putting a limit on direct messages, but there seems no advantage of such features as people have been enslaved by it.
People earnestly spend hours on it, why? As Ankur Thakkar, the former editorial lead at Vine expressed: “You are not actually sure why you are seeing what you’re seeing.”
Like any other app, it also employs artificial intelligence to analyse user’s interests based on the videos they ‘like’, ‘comment’ on and provide content to engage them rigorously.
Meanwhile, the recent Anti-China furore has added insult to injury by suggesting the need to boycott China products including apps like TikTok, WeChat etc as Indian Intelligence asserted that these Chinese apps are extracting a lot of information outside India.
Therefore, it’s high time that the government bans Tiktok before it takes another influential turn in India.