There has been a surging controversy between China and the United States regarding China using applications like Tik Tok to spy on people in America. We’ve reached the point where Trump is addressing more than just the creators of Tik Tok, but also gaming companies like Tencent as well. Though, it is justified when Valorant’s anti-cheat has been considered suspicious for how it’s built in.
When faced with the issue of a foreign country gathering info through popular applications like Tik Tok, it can become a problem. If the government were to take action and shut down these applications, there’s people who legitimately build their careers around these applications. I do find it a bit silly in my personal opinion, but what can I say, these people are probably far more famous and make much more money than I do using Tik Tok.
It’s not just the United States too. Indian governments have cracked down on Tik Tok due to it’s safety concerns as well. Not just spying safety concerns, but underage safety concerns. Which is one of the biggest concerns I have for this application. If China wants to spy on us, they have other methods besides using a social media app. However, this app is dealt with a severe problem of sexual predators, just like any other social media.
It’s not really Tik Tok’s fault on this case though. Yes, it’s their job to try to maintain these kind of people and ban them whenever possible, but there’s only so much a company can do about them. New accounts, new phones, VPN, there’s so many ways to go around it even if they are removed. So it’s almost impossible to deal with every user possible.
So there’s a downside and an upside to banning Tik Tok. There’s jobs and entertainment built around the application, but it has a problem with illegal data collection and predators. I’d argue that even if Tik Tok were to be removed, Tik Tok celebrities could simply just move onto another application like YouTube or Twitch. Would I say it’s better or worth the same amount of money? Probably not, but they still have a fan base to work with. Also, let’s be real here. Even if Tik Tok were to shut down, it’s not like it’s the only source of entertainment we have in this day and age. There are many applications, games, websites, and people through the power of the internet. It’s disappearance would be disappointing to those active users for about a week, but there are alternatives that are just as good, if not better.
If we were to compare this to another scenario, I’d say the closest thing is Vine. Many people who built their careers around Vine, with our biggest example being Logan Paul. Okay, maybe he’s had controversy surrounding him, but he was capable of generating a massive career cause of the app, even after it shut down.
In the end, there isn’t really many downsides to banning Tik Tok. It may leave a few people angry or frustrated, but with so much access to different medias people will find ways to entertain themselves. But what about Tencent?
Tencent owns Riot Games and owns a fair amount of Epic Games, so if they were to be banned, then there would be a massive hole in the gaming community. Hate it as much as you might, Fortnite disappearing will leave a lot of families dealing with kids who had spent a lot of time and money into the game, angry. League of Legends would be the same, with many people investing hours of their life to climb the ranks, people who are addicted to the game would lose something they dearly love.
Now you might say, banning these games would help our society if anything. These people who typically spend hours upon hours playing games would have nowhere to go, so they’d turn to society and be productive! That’s… not quite how it works. They’ll just turn to other methods of entertainment just like anyone else. Typically, people will use games to escape from the real world. In the digital era, you can be the greatest Yasuo main known to man, but in real life, you might not have a single friend. That’s okay though, people can live life how they want with whatever satisfies them. If we remove a game like League, they’ll just find other ways to escape the world. All it does is just remove a large portion of our media and entertainment.
And we can’t say the same for people who have built their careers around League of Legends, at least in the United States. There are some YouTubers who already do variety content along with League, so they can turn to other options, but for people who have a fan base for people who only like them when they watch that game, their work and pride might just vanish. It’s been seen with content creators to try quitting League and switching content, but coming back because people just aren’t interested in watching them anymore. This hurts smaller content creators the most.
Should United States ban Tik Tok? I think so. But with bigger companies like Tencent, they have to be cautious with the gaming community. Games have connected to people and become their life. Is this for the best? I’d say no. However, if we were to take it away just like that, there will be frustration, anger, and pain. Addiction to gaming won’t just disappear, just as if it were smoking. With the loss of Tencent, it might be a bigger problem people might realize.