TikTok vs. The World: Who Will Win The Battle For Our Attention?

Posted by

Anyone else feel like something smells fishy with this whole “let’s ban TikTok” sentiment?

Why are they looking to ban TikTok?
The main argument is: Privacy/security concerns (with a dash of Chinese surveillance).
The main argument might be: TikTok is grabbing a lot of eyeballs, attention, time, and revenue from the other big social media players (mostly US-based companies), and negative PR and lobbying against TikTok may be easier for these social media giants than competing with TikTok.
Critics argue that the Chinese government could potentially access this trove of North American user engagement and data, posing a national security risk.


If we’re worried about privacy concerns or surveillance by a foreign entity, why are we not looking at all social media companies (after all, the competitors may not be a foreign government, but they are all for-profit organizations, and they have very little regulation around content moderation and use of consumer data).

Who benefits if TikTok gets banned?

TikTok has been eating into the revenue of Facebook, Instagram (owned by Meta), YouTube, etc.
Why do we, the citizens (and the consumers), take no issue with the hordes of data that all of these companies have on us?
Why do we, the citizens (and the consumers), take no issue with the (near complete) lack of content moderation in relation to protecting kids and other marginalized groups?
How are these North American-based social media giants immune to the same scrutiny as TikTok, in a world where we can’t even have basic content moderation and can’t get access to, exactly, how our data is being used (and sold)?

Lots of passionate sides on this debate…

From 2022: Facebook Parent Company Defends Its PR Campaign to Portray TikTok as Threat to American Children.

From last week: TikTok users’ favorite moments from the TikTok congressional hearing.

Is this call for a TikTok ban motivated by genuine privacy/security concerns, or simply a strategic move by other social media platforms to eliminate a powerful competitor (via lobbying)?

Houston, we have a double-standard problem…
Concerns about TikTok’s data collection practices are valid (and, I am not a TikTok apologist), but it does feel like a double standard, when compared to their peers.
The public seems to accept the data collection practices of their competitors, despite the overt potential risks they pose.

I’d also ask: Where did this out-cry of concern over TikTok originate from? Consumers? Government? Does anybody know? Did we “follow the money/power”?

The debate surrounding the potential TikTok ban exposes the complexity of data privacy, national security, consumer’s access to media that is not rated, market competition in the social media landscape and, more importantly, how the decision to go after any company comes to be.
Sure, a TikTok ban may address some privacy/surveillance concerns, but it also raises many more questions about the motivations behind such actions and how it impacts their direct competitors (and, ultimately, the consumer).
I’m not one to play into conspiracy theories, but what, exactly, is going on here?
Have everyone read the book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, by Shoshana Zuboff (because you should).

Do you think TikTok should be banned?

This is what Heather Backman and I discussed over on 95.9 Star FM for a couple of minutes today.

What is Tech Tuesday?

Every Tuesday – for just a few minutes – I join Heather Backman (my old buddy from her days on CHOM FM and Jack 103) on the air at 95.9 Star FM to give a quick blast about the current state of technology, media and Internet culture.
We call it Tech Tuesday (and we do it in just a few minutes).

Once the segment goes live on 95.9 Star FM, I will post it here for you to listen in, learn, share and engage.

Before you go… ThinkersOne is a new way for organizations to buy bite-sized and personalized thought leadership video content (live and recorded) from the best Thinkers in the world. If you’re looking to add excitement and big smarts to your meetings, corporate events, company off-sites, “lunch & learns” and beyond, check it out.