Watching The Clock; A TikTok Update

If You Didn’t Know

If you hadn’t heard, Chinese based app TikTok was on a time crunch. The US government, citing the app as a security risk, gave the owners an ultimatum; sell to a US company or get banned. Even though the date for this ultimatum kept getting pushed back, the demand still stood.

Fast forward a few months and the app is still operational in the United States. So what’s going on?

Well, as of last week, the New York Post was reporting that the Commerce Department had backed down on its pursuit to shut down TikTok. This move came after a Pennsylvania judge sided with 3 users of the app on October 30th. The TikTok users claimed that shutting down the app would interfere with their ability to make a living.

But Did TikTok Sell

Kind of. The Trump administration approved a deal where ByteDance, the company who owns TikTok, agreed to set up a US-based company, TikTok Global, that would share ownership with American companies Oracle and Walmart.

In light of the election results and Joe Biden’s win, ByteDance filed appeals with federal courts to block the deal. While the battle for American ownership of TikTok continues in the courts, users continue to flood the video app with content. Many have found it their lifeline during the pandemic, both for content and for income.

How Do People Make Money On TikTok

The formula is simple, and how advertising has always worked. The more followers a creator acquires, the more eyes are on their content. Once they get to a certain amount, TikTok pays them ad revenue. This means TikTok charges products and services to advertise on their platform, then shares that money with content creators who are putting eyes on the advertisements.

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Monetization of TikTok can make people very wealthy, but also provided a much needed small infusion of cash for those who aren’t over 1 million followers. I personally have friends making a few hundred a month from TikTok which has helped keep them afloat during the uncertainty of the pandemic.

But Isn’t TikTok Dangerous

Any software housed in a foreign country is subject to the laws of that country. While TikTok itself is not “out to get you,” the concern lies in the powers that the Chinese government has to demand your data and information. As we’ve seen over the previous two weeks, social media collects a scary amount of data on us.

So the answer to that is in the grey area. Yes, it is concerning that a foreign government has that much access to your data. On the other hand, Facebook is an American company and has been pretty shady when it comes to the handling of our personal information. It’s been proven that they sold our data points to a foreign company (Cambridge Analytica.)

If you’re going to use social media in any form, you have to understand that you’re giving a company access to information about you. Once you post it, they can do what they want with it. And this goes for ANY social media, even the ones touting themselves as “free speech” platforms. As the saying goes, “if you aren’t paying for it, you’re the payment.”

Social media safety should be something on all our minds. Make sure you’re staying up-to-date with what they’re doing. Also, make sure you aren’t sharing too much. And, as always, stay safe out there.

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