By Yahuza Abdulkadir
A source culled from Wikipedia says that TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a video-focused social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to three minutes. TikTok is an international version of Douyin, released initially in the Chinese market in September 2016.
However, I was not a user of TikTok until a few weeks back when a friend gave me the hint to start using the app to promote my art by creating short videos of spoken word poetry. And then, I came to learn young people use the platform to showcase their talents in comedy, singing, dancing and other forms of entertainment through creating short videos and sharing them across a community of users.
However, after launching my account, I felt it was boring for people like me to find comfort there. The only person I was able to follow was Alhan Islam because I am interested in what she does. After a few days, I could no longer log in to the app again.
As of January 2022, out of the 4.8 billion social media users globally, TikTok has 1 billion active users, earning a spot in the six most famous social media platforms. Cloudfare’s 2021 Year In Review puts TikTok as the most famous website in 2021, surpassing even Google. Tiktok net worth is $50 billion in 2020 and now nearly $75 billion in 2022. Despite the nature of content promoted on the platform, one may want to know that so many individuals earn huge amounts of money through their videos’ engagements.
According to Forbes Magazine, a 17-year-old American social media personality and dancer, Charli D’Amelio, the most followed video-creator on the platform, earned $17.5 million in 2021, making her the highest-paid TikToker of the year.
I read many articles on Facebook and other blogs where people lament the platform to be a weapon for killing the young women in this generation. They said most of the videos created by users promote indecency and immorality. But recently, I found out that it’s not only in Nigeria that such content is being promoted; it’s almost everywhere globally. This made some countries take legal action on the matter. Countries like Pakistan has imposed and lifted four bans on TikTok, tagging the platform to be responsible for promoting immoral, obscene and vulgar content.
Bangladesh government also involved itself in the war against pornography to save children and adults from moral and social degradation by blocking the platform’s internet access. TikTok was also temporarily banned in Indonesia in the year 2018. The Indonesian government said the platform has a lot of harmful content to children.
In 2020, the platform was also banned by the Indian government to protect the data and privacy of its citizens from threats that have to do with national security, and they tagged the platform responsible for promoting inappropriate content. As a result, the platform lost 167 million users in the country. What would surprise you is that even China has banned the use of this platform.
This shows that the Nigerian government can also ban TikTok if it wants to. Do you think it’s not possible? I think it’s possible if we look at the “Twitter ban saga.” Unless the government thinks the use of this platform has no consequence on their side. If that’s the case, we need to go back to our homes and solve the problem. As people would say, “Charity begins at home.”
We shall all know that social media platforms are there to serve a purpose, and if it turns out that we tend to lose our good morals and forget where we came from by joining the trends and “feel among syndrome” – showing the world how indecent we are, then we have deceived nobody but us. So I think good characters matters the most.
Furthermore, it’s disheartening to see the young women in the Arewa community selling their body parts on cyberspace, not only on TikTok. This occurs almost on every social media platform. It’s a massive disappointment to our cultures and values. Whatever one might engage in, they should know “the internet never forgets.”
Yahuza Abdulkadir wrote from firstname.lastname@example.org.