TikTok: The app that survived


Harvey Watkins

The TikTok app logo sits broken in half. Tik Tok is an app with a huge following in the U.S. “I know it’s very popular,” AP Government Teacher Mandy Murphy said. “It was something to watch, and something that everyone could do.”

Wesley Barrett

The world was expecting the holistic shutdown of the social media giant TikTok Sunday, Sept. 20. Downloads of the app mounted in anticipation of the end of its American reign.

Come this week, it’s still here.

“It’s not only a content for sharing videos,” AP English teacher Paul Buckley said. “It’s like an aesthetic.”

Tik Tok was, and still is, a cultural phenomenon with over 2 billion downloads and 100 million in the US alone. However, the government sees a problem with its popularity.

“It’s owned by a Chinese company, as opposed to being owned by an American company,” AP Government teacher Mandy Murphy said. “They were concerned about the Chinese company having that data.”

Surveillance has long been cited as an issue with the app. It was these concerns that caused government organizations, like the TSA and military, to ban its use among members.

“I think it’s reasonable that he’s [Trump] trying to ban it,” freshman Braddock Jones said. “China’s a very large superpower, that is also a threat.”

Relations with China have long soured due to a trade war between the U.S. and China. As a result, tariffs and other economic attacks have been levied between both nations.

“(China and America) hate each other,” sophomore Alex Seymour said.  “We make it really well known that we hate their system of government by telling them that.”

On Aug. 6, Trump issued an executive order to effectively ban the use of Tik Tok by outlawing transactions with the parent company Bytedance that was set to take action 45 days after it was announced.

“The goal of the order was banning the platform,” PHS senior Skylar Spears said. “Unless a U.S. company bought it.”

This executive order also outlined the solution of selling Tik Tok to a different company, leading to Microsoft’s failed bid to buy the app.

“I honestly think it would have been better if Microsoft bought it,” senior Shoji Turner said. “They are already in the entertainment industry, even if it is a little different.”

The American branch of Tik Tok is soon to be owned by a new company called Tik Tok Global, with companies Oracle and Walmart having a 12.5% and 7.5% share in the new company respectively.

“I don’t think Walmart needs 10 percent,” sophomore Kyleigh Aldridge said. “I think that’s completely stupid.”

Even amid possible risks, with new ownership and growing influence of the app, the TikTok platform may pass the vibe check.

“The beauty in democracy with something like social media is that influence is really up to the creators,” Buckley said. “But who knows, maybe we’re all hacked.”