How Tiktok creators are being affected by Trump’s potential TikTok ban

by Andrea Lee / Staff Reporter

TikTok creator Lee Smith. Photo courtesy of @sadboyily on Instagram

What went from an app used to create lip sync videos has quickly become a social media platform unlike any other. TikTok has taken the world by storm, becoming the most downloaded app worldwide within only two years. 

“Since January 2019, TikTok has been installed more than 104.7 million times, which is an increase of 46% in the span of a year, making it the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide, according to Sensor Tower, a mobile app store data analytics firm”, according to Forbes.

Although the app has garnered a lot of success with its users, its creators are also facing issues. From the app’s instability with President Trump’s repeated threats to ban the app to Tiktok shadow banning their LQBTQ+ and BIPOC creators, this app that creators saw as a fun outlet is becoming more complicated by the day.

With President Trump’s looming threat, Oracle has officially made a deal with TikTok. According to axios.com, “Oracle will have the exclusive ability to oversee all tech operations for TikTok in the U.S. Oracle will review TikTok’s source code and related software to ensure there are no backdoors.”

Lee Smith, known to their 207.8 thousand followers as “sadboyily”, makes content primarily comedic in nature. 

“I first started making content out of boredom,” Smith said, “My best friend and I got together one day and decided to make TikToks. Immediately my video blew up, getting 300 thousand views, which then motivated me to continue making videos.”

When Trump first threatened to ban the popular social media app, Lee shared the same sentiment as many other creators. He said, “My initial reaction was honestly just sadness. TikTok has become a prominent part of pop/youth culture, it has been the birthplace of many influential people’s careers. I’ll most likely stop making content.” 

Oracle’s new deal with Tiktok isn’t generating much hope for some creators. 

TikTok creator Molly Cheevers. Photo courtesy of @mollybeth25 on Instagram

Smith said, “I am fearful of the fact that the CEO of Oracle is a Trump supporter.  Most of Trump’s actions as the president seem to be a grab for power and with that, the buying of one of the largest social media apps of this generation by an American company seems to be for the same purpose.”

Molly Cheevers, or known as they are known to their 201.3k followers as mollybethh_lit started their account as a fun personal blog to document their new chapter of growing through hardships.

“I had just gotten off the street from being homeless, and it was something I had wanted to do when I was homeless but I feel confident in myself because it was hard to keep clean, hard to do laundry in NYC in the middle of the pandemic,” said Cheevers. 

“I didn’t have access to all of my clothing, etc. So, I was excited once I found an apartment to get to be carefree and silly on the app.”

Cheevers said the risk of the ban did not phase them. They said, “I honestly wasn’t surprised, we live in a fascist police state. I’ve spent the past few months protesting and watching photographers and journalists with press passed get assaulted alongside us. It didn’t surprise me that trump was using xenophobic rhetoric to ban the app.” 

With the new deal, Cheevers said they only expect the worst. “Trump tried to ban the app because of how vocal gen Z is about politics on it. The app shadow bans black and queer creators. I think this will continue or worsen under Oracle.”

Madison Asycue, known as madi.ayscue to her 82.8 thousand followers, remembers TikTok when it was previously known as Musical.ly. 

“I honestly don’t remember why I started posting. I had TikTok when it was still Musical.ly and I posted very cringey lip syncs. I kept trying to keep up with the trends as the platform changed into what it is today, and I’ve managed to gain a decent following. I try to make every video different so it’s a roller coaster going through them all.”  

Ayscue said she was genuinely worried once she learned of the ban. 

“I hope TikTok is just bought by someone who will allow their user to remain as free as they already are.  As for being a creator, I honestly don’t know where my future is headed towards. I just sort of go day by day and try and make the best of it,”Ayscue said.



Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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