With the recent ban on the online entertainment app TikTok, contradictory arguments have opened up surrounding the decision. While most have welcomed the ban, few have discussed the impact it would leave on several content creator for whom the platform had become a source of income.
TikTok had received a lot of flak recently when users glorified acts of molestation and acid attacks through their videos. Even though the ban was imposed to safeguard the privacy and security of the country, concerns over its content and addiction has been spoken about for quite some time.
Speaking about the matter Dr Sanjay Garg, Consultant, Mental Health and Behavioural Science, Fortis Anandapur, said, “There are multiple aspects to the concerns surrounding TikTok. Saying that TikTok had become addictive perhaps would not be completely accurate considering that we are dealing with a much larger picture of internet addiction as a whole. The specific content that is consumed or the platform that is primarily used of course depends on individual choices.”
TikTok, as a platform, made it simpler for people to present their content to a larger audience, without much technical knowhow. Therefore, it attracted a huge numbers of people, some of who used it as an experimental medium, some for fun, while others made careers out of it. “Though on multiple occasions TikTok provoked the ire of many, on the basis of its content, a creative platform, logically, cannot be blamed entirely for the evils of the world. Any creative content is, at some level, a reflection of the society itself and the principles and beliefs it internalises, at large. Unfortunately, even if a platform that allows for the propagation of such ideas are banned, the bitter truth still remains that such vile notions do exist in our social system”, added Dr Garg
While TikTok may have gained attention for objectionable content, this does not imply that such content is absolutely absent on other platforms. Nor does it imply that the platform was only home to unpleasant material. Several creators were using TikTok for socially relevant causes such as spreading awareness about mental health.
Banning a particular platform for its objectionable content cannot work as an isolated move. If we are concerned about misogynistic attitudes prevalent in the society, or about violent attacks against women, then barely banning a few platforms will yield limited success at best. In today’s age, there is no dearth of alternative mediums of expression. Thus, success can only be achieved if such moves are an adjunct to other measures such as gender sensitization training, and fostering a culture of gender equality and inclusion for all. However, all said and done, we have to keep in mind that the current ban that has been issued does not impact only TikTok, but several other apps too and the primary reasons being stated behind this move are those of privacy and security of the country, which is of course a great cause of concern for many. Considering the reasons behind this move, many content creators on TikTok have themselves expressed their support for it.
Speaking about how the ban will affect the mental health of earning content makers Dr Garg said, “It is natural for creators on TikTok to feel stressed or upset by this move, and it is expected that they might take a while to adjust to this and bounce back. Many would agree that talent and skills transcend logistical concerns. Luckily we live at a time when newer platforms and mediums come up almost every day. Chances are that attempts will be made to create another platform that would provide its users a scope to have their talents recognised. It is also possible that having gained some experience on TikTok, many users might be able to utilise it to create a base for themselves on other already existing mediums.”