JSU students discuss the potential impact of a TikTok ban on younger generations

Brooklyn Wilkes, Correspondent

Recently, President Trump signed an executive order to ban a social media app from the United States after 45 days if they are not sold by its Chinese parent companies.

This app, known as TikTok, is a video sharing application that allows users to release a variety of content to millions of other users worldwide. Currently, it is owned by ByteDance, Ltd., a company that was founded and currently operates in China.

TikTok may be saved if it were to be bought by an American company as The Atlantic has said, “Unless, as Trump has put it, a ‘very American’ company buys TikTok”. Microsoft is a very motivated buyer and has offered $50 billion for TikTok, and have been in negotiations per the executive order.

If TikTok really does get banned, then what kind of impact should be expected? Not only does this platform allow its users to be creative, but it also has created a safe space for many users when there was nowhere else they felt they could turn to.

Many students at JSU had strong feelings on how they felt about the banning of TikTok and how they think it would impact things for social media. 

“I think it’s an attempt to take away a freedom of expression for so many people,” said JSU senior Rebekah Ledbetter. “TikTok has become a safe space for queer, BIPOC, and alternative creators that have never been able to hold a platform. It’s an amazing platform that has the ability to rally together and work for a cause that young people believe in.”

Ledbetter said that part of why Trump is attempting to ban TikTok is because of those on the platform that disagree with him.

“I also see it as an extension of the media, as I can get accounts firsthand from events such as the BLM protests to those who are in Beirut dealing with the aftermath of the explosion,” said Ledbetter.

JSU student Tyler Farmer said that banning TikTok would negatively affect the younger generation.

“Personally, I found my own confidence through the app,” Farmer said. “I saw people that are examples and inspirations to me personally on the app and that gave me the courage to be the person I am today.” 

Farmer explained that the generation uses the app to connect with like-minded people and to engage with social movements such as Black Lives Matter.

“Social media apps such as TikTok have allowed our generation to speak freely and exercise our first amendment right,” he said. “This ban will restrict our generation and cut out a major way for us to connect with one another while simultaneously restricting our freedom of speech rights.”

The U.S. is not the only country who has brought up the banning of TikTok. Other countries have banned the social media app as well, including India, that banned the app in June of this year. Indonesia had a ban of TikTok in place in 2018, but it was eventually called off.

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