By: Riley Haltom
TikTok’s popularity among high school students is off the charts. Hundreds of students have accounts on the app, and that number continues to climb. The app was one of the many escapes from boredom many students used throughout the quarantine period. TikTok is a social media platform where users create up to a minute long videos that often feature dances, politics, lip-syncing, reactions or comedy skits. Current students such as seniors Raven Brisentine and Jocelyn Dysart have several thousands of followers on the app. Current junior Robby Novak has amassed over 460 thousand followers. Class of 2019 graduate Gideon McManus is currently at 1.6 million followers and is growing rapidly. Gideon had this to say about the impact that TikTok has had on him.
“TikTok has had an amazing impact on me. It’s allowed me to connect with other TikTok influencers and some pretty cool A-List celebrities because they follow me. It’s allowed me to amass 1.6 million followers, which I think is a pretty big achievement. It’s also become a pretty stable source of income. It’s helped me realize social media could be a legitimate job. TikTok has done a lot of great things for me and other people. It helps people get out there and gain a following to get famous, so to speak. TikTok has impacted me immensely. It’s become a part of my everyday life as it has with many others.”
Recently, the app has come under careful inspection by the United States government. President Trump proposed a download ban on the app that would prevent updates or new downloads of the app. The ban, at the time of this writing, has been pushed back twice, once by the President and once by a judge. The reason for the ban is TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, which is based in China. TikTok is viewed as a national security threat for this reason. McManus said this about the proposed ban.
“It’s really tricky because we have a lot of conflicting information coming. Personally, as an influencer with direct contact to TikTok through the Creator Fund, they have clearly stated that TikTok is here to stay and that they want to be in the U.S. It’s a proven fact that Trump has signed off on giving American ownership to Oracle and Wal-Mart. The only people that have a problem with it are Chinese officials. The ban is sketchy, but I do agree that our information should be kept private and be owned by American companies rather than foreign companies. Personally, I think that a TikTok temporary download ban, considering China signs off on it, then it is a security threat and I understand a ban for security.”
The popularity of TikTok cannot be understated. With over 500 million users, including myself, the app continues anything from a path to a social media career to a simple way to pass the time.