Walmart Enters Battle for TikTok

     In today’s day and age, we all can admit that social media is an active part in most people’s lives when it comes to communication and decision making with other people. One of today’s most popular platforms is TikTok, which took the world by storm when it first popped up on mobile app stores back in 2016. The app especially gained popularity in 2018 after Vine, another popular app, shut down, prompting fate to shine its lights on TikTok.

     For those who are unfamiliar, TikTok is a social media platform that allows people to make videos of themselves and discuss or play out anything to their hearts desires as long as it follows appropriate guidelines. When a video is posted, people all over the world can see it.

     So why has TikTok recently seemed to be in hot water? The reason for this is that “Byte dance” (TikTok’s parent company) has allegedly been accused of data mining users’ information based on the likes they have given to videos of their choice, and by drawing on users’ broader phone usage. These claims scared many people, causing thousands to delete the app off their phones. The conspiracies grew so popular that they even made their way to the White House where President Trump issued an executive order to stop Byte Dance, which is based in China, from the chance of data mining from the American people. The order said that TikTok would be banned from the United States if the American portion of the app is in any other location except American soil.

     By doing this, Trump puts pressure on China and Byte Dance into selling the American part of TikTok to a U.S. based company. The reason for this is that if the American side of TikTok is sold to a American company, the app must follow American regulations, which will supposedly stop or lessen the amount of data mining in which TikTok has been accused of partaking.

     This fall, Walmart stated that it would be taking a stake into buying TikTok and teaming up with Microsoft to do so. It is not clear whether they have officially bought the app or not, but they do have until November, the deadline on the executive order. Recently, President Trump tried to take TikTok off the App Store until a decision is made; however, a judge overruled this action. Since Walmart expressed interest in helping to buy TikTok, its stock (WMT) skyrocketed and went from $130 per share to $147 in under eleven days.

     Even if TikTok does see the light after this horrible year, many users have gone on record against TikTok, criticizing their constant battles on community guidelines as well as their lack of care for small creators, and the recent problem with the “TikTok Creator fund,” which is supposed to give creators money for creating on TikTok exclusively.

     The questions still stand: Will TikTok meet the same fate as Vine? Are the accusations of data mining true? Is it all just not worth the hassle, or is this app really worth saving? That is up to TikTok users and our representatives to decide.