Disclaimer: This article was written before hand because we knew this day was coming…
Human beings are social animals and bring such we need interactive mediums to express ourselves.
From stone carvings, to leaves, to print publications, to YouTube, there has always been a medium for people to display their creativity.
However the substance of the creative work has evolved over the time. Looking at the transition in the recent past, the content from longer forms such as films to shorter video format i.e. YouTube where most of the videos are around ten minutes long.
Even more recently there has been a shift in the format of the content that is being consumed. I assume the readers know things got started from Vine, to musical.ly, to now TikTok.
TikTok has taken the mobile app market by storm being the most downloaded application.
However this app is having a very polarised user base. There are either people who love this app or they hate this app. There is no middle ground.
The catch here is the duration of the videos that are there on this platform and how this platform functions in general.
Some have found refuge in it to display their talent as it requires much lesser accessories to make a TikTok video and thus is much easier for people to showcase their talent.
Only scroll down feature is making it easily navigable.
In addition to that this app has been hugely famous in rural populace because of the following feature mentioned above. People feel at home while making content consuming it.
People in general who were keeping themselves up to themselves only are seeing this app as an unexplored window of opportunity. This was a gateway for them to be socially active.
People who gripe against this have a very reasonable claim that people on this platform who don’t have any applaudable talent are gaining popularity doing nothing other than lip syncing.
This platform doesn’t need any skill. In a nutshell, the factor of being accessible and convenient which weighed in their favor is actually objectively the downside of the platform.
In the fight between the YouTubers and TikTokers as well, majorly the straw for the YouTubers was that their hard work was being undermined by the TikTokers who have got easy fame on the platform.
The worst part about micro video sharing platforms like TikTok is that these are really filled with cringeworthy content and across platforms no one blanketly denies that it.
Even more disturbing fact about TikTok in specific is that it has become a great tool for spreading communal propaganda, child pornography, and animal cruelty as there is no filters in this app, which is a cause of concern for the people.
Data privacy is yet another issue which many people frown upon. In February this year Reddit CEO Steve Huffman criticized the app calling it a “spyware”.
However TikTok shredded the claims, stating those allegations being baseless.
In Indonesia, the app was banned in regards to pornography and blasphemy. In India as well the app was briefly banned in 2019 citing that this platform encourages pornography and shows inappropriate content.
Taking the content, many things are there which are questionable to say the least.
From dogs being thrown into water, to videos promoting violence, acid attack, etc., to misinformation related to COVID-19 pandemic or any information for that matter, all of it is floating around on this platform.
Addiction is another reality as many people are getting addicted to this app. The interface and functioning of this app also might reduce the attention span of people as they are hooked to getting quick entertainment which is as quick as 15 seconds and that too being very repetitive in nature.
This application is a double edged sword and thus while it may be doing good to some people, it might be doing more harm than good considering what has been happening.
TikTok was one of the Chinese apps which got banned by the Government of India under the Section 69A of IT Act. The rationale is said to be protection of data privacy of citizens India.
It is a moment of melancholy for the content creators who operated on TikTok. Confrontation may be possible.
Sayantan Mitra writes about society with touches of polity and politics. His main focus is on providing informative content with a unique perspective, but never at the cost of providing just mere entertainment.