At the beginning of the year I wrote a story about Tik Tok’s moment, reports from the battle front in Ukraine. How it had just broken out here in the United States and the rest of the world. Tik Tok is this endless stream of video shorts that is very addicting. A window into the lives of so many people, many teaching, pontificating or just doing silly human tricks. For a platform that started with lip synchers and young kids doing dance moves, it has morphed into every niche imaginable. I love it. I put in a patio this summer ( myself ) because I saw someone on Tik Tok do it.
Of course it took them much less time to finish. Even my cooking has improved with watching the many domestic hacks that are everywhere. Laugh, cry, get angry or learn, Tik Tok has got you. It seems that is more a valid statement than I had realized.
To truly get a grasp of the viral nature of Tik Tok globally take a look at the numbers. Tik Tok is now available in more than 150 countries and has more than 1 billion users. In the US alone it has been downloaded over 210 million times. It was my full fledged belief that if your needed to market to anyone ages 13 to 60 you had to be on Tik Tok. However, to all this sizzle the lurks something ominous and potentially dangerous.
It seems that ByteDance the parent company of Tik Tok has been keeping tabs on all of us using the platform. The immense data streams from each mobile unit that has the app, is fed into ByteDance’s headquarters. Combine what the CCP ( Chinese Communist Party ) has been focused on in regards to AI, and it gets a little scary. The CCP has been allocating enormous resources to become the predominant AI power in the world. AI is what you would use to make sense of large buckets of data in the form of machine learning. What do you think they want to do with the analysis of that data? In July of 2022 scientists in China developed an AI platform that could measure people’s loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. All based on a user’s behavior online.
Why do I bring this up now? Local governments around the USA have started banning the use of Tik Tok on government issued phones. The Federal government is likely to follow suit. Furthermore, Congress may move for an outright ban on the application itself. Even as the parent company ByteDance responded to privacy concerns, and tried to calm fears about American data being funneled back to China for some nefarious use, they were found to be not truthful.
Where does this leave marketers and those of us who have started experimenting with running ads for our clients on the platform? Limbo. Sorry to say, DNA Digital Marketing will no longer be actively working on Tik Tok for the foreseeable future. We will be monitoring the Tik Tok question, perhaps it will bring stronger and much needed privacy legislation to the forefront. Regardless, Tik Tok will still be around, it just might not be here.