Sunday (August 2nd): TikTok goes the Clock

Narendra Modi

Name? Narendra Modi

Westphalian identity? Indian

Age? 69

Why is he in the news? Now that US President Trump has boastfully said he wants to ban TikTok; the Chinese-owned video-sharing app, Modi is having a “told-you-so” moment as India was the first country to ban TikTok. With 200 MIL users in India alone, TikTok felt the impact of Modi’s decision.

Why do we care? Because if Facebook is any example, the power of social media apps is a force to be reckoned with. Attempts to control or cut out lesser-understood powers such as Tik Tok should be planned and watched with caution in our highly digitized lives. Specifically, we should seek to understand why leaders seek to outright ban TikTok as Modi has done and Trump wants to do, but only limit Facebook in power? Is country of origin more important than regulation of privacy and fake news…?

Why should you care? In today’s world,  understanding how your privacy can be protected is always useful; regardless of whether that’s through your government or your browser. 

Who else cares? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will be carefully watching out for any indication as to whether TikTok’s future will come crashing down – always a happy sight for the owner of multiple social media networks. Though Zuckerberg may have his work cut out for him, should Gates decide to step in and save American teenagers across the country.

Any further comments? Recent scuffles between India’s Modi and China’s Xi demonstrate their competitive relationship evolving into more than just militaristic altercations. While Modi’s administration’s ban of TikTok can be interpreted as a relatively unprovocative way to stick it to Xi, a more self-centered perspective would involve Modi prioritising Indian-bred companies. TikTok’s massive outreach in India has been unmatched in the weeks since the ban, but has forced a refocusing – however small – onto alternative local social media applications instead.

Johanna Katherina Jakobi

Research and Analysis Intern