Tiktok has become an international social media sensation since it was launched. Millions of users are uploading 3 to 15 seconds quirky videos of themselves with music in the background which can be slowed down, sped up, with or without filters.
It is the world’s leading platform that encourages users to be a creator and share their creativity and passion through their short mobile videos.
Tiktok has become much more than an advertisement platform; it is being used by users to spread messages on social as well as climate change awareness.
The hashtag #Globalwarming has been viewed over 24 million times on the app. These videos spread the message of global warming through time-lapse videos, make-up that shows the before and after-effects of global warming on earth using their faces and parts of their body as a metaphor for earth.
There are various videos showcasing flowers withering, people choking on plastic, and the dangers of overheating on humans as well as the environment.
Tiktok has launched two new initiatives in Saudi Arabia and across MENA.
- The first initiative with hashtag #TikTokCares to spread precautions they need to take to tackle the searing Arabian summer.
- The second initiative with the hashtag #CreateForGood challenge is to launch awareness about people who suffer from speech or hearing impairment. The #CreateForGood and #TikTokCares campaigns encourage creators to contribute to causes and promote values of inclusivity, safety and tolerance.
The hashtag #SafeHumSafeInternet was launched in India in partnership with the Safer Internet Day (SID) organization as well as Cyber Peace Foundation to promote the importance of online safety and to educate users to follow safety practices.
Popular Indian celebrities like Neha Kakkar, Shirley Setia and Tamil TechGuruji joined the #SafeHumSafeInternet initiative by publishing videos on Tiktok to promote Safer Internet Day.
Similar to the functioning of other social media platforms, Tiktok too has its fair share of controversies.
The Indonesian government temporarily banned TikTok for “pornography, blasphemy and inappropriate content”, according to a report on Reuters.
For the Tiktok app ban to be lifted, the Indonesian government issued demands that needed to be met for the app to be reinstated.
ByteDance removed all negative content from the app and set up 20 moderators team in Indonesia. The ban was lifted in a week after the terms and conditions were met by the company.
In another incident, the Federal Trade Commission reported that TikTok will pay a hefty sum of $5.7 million to settle children’s privacy law, that the company was accused of violating.
The FTC has accused TikTok of allegedly collecting personal information from children illegally, and not obtaining parental permission before they signed up. This put them in violation of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Act).
Many Tiktok users have been injured while the making of videos for this video-sharing app. In February 2019, three students of Tamil Nadu,India met with an accident while riding a scooter that hit a bus, which occurred while they were making a TikTok video.
Recently a video went viral when a 32-year-old Delhi based man named Faizan uploaded a video of himself firing a country-made pistol in the air at Suiwalan, Chandni Mahal to celebrate his birthday on 10th of August 2019. After the video went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp, Delhi Police arrested the man and seized his mobile and the firearm.
Tiktok app encouraged inappropriate sexually explicit contents in their videos with no guidelines to protect children from these contents on their app.
The accidents that occurred all across India after the launch of TikTok app, along with the unsafe guidelines that did not protect children from explicit content on their app, put TikTok under fire and a ban was imposed on the app by the Madras High Court on the 3rd of April 2019.
The company filed an appeal to reverse the Court’s decision and the ban was eventually lifted on the condition that Tiktok should not be used to host obscene videos of users.
While tiktok is an app meant for fun and entertainment, its judicious use should be encouraged and awareness about its safe use should be spread.
Lives have been lost and people have been hurt due to unruly use of this app.