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More Social, Less Media: Will the TikTok Ban Bring on a New Era?

While the possibility of a TikTok Ban hangs in the air, a new era of social media is making its way to the forefront.

Man trapped inside mind, brain has flags of media apps such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
Credit: Pixabay/Mohamed_hassan

The recently proposed bill to ban TikTok has been swarming news outlets, and not for the first time. It has brought forth many questions concerning the younger generation’s social media usage.

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that could ban TikTok in the U.S. The bill had widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans, however, Gen Z users have shown an unrelenting amount of support for the continued use of TikTok in the U.S.

Is TikTok getting banned?

The bill passed by the House still has a long way to go. As it is headed to the Senate, many changes may be made or rejected. It is important to note that the bill is not an overall ban on TikTok as an app. Some conditions may allow the app’s popularity to continue in the states.

Stop sign on a nice afternoon.
Stop sign on a nice afternoon. Credit: Pixabay/inproperstyle

If passed through the Senate, the bill would require some steep alterations. The bill demands that TikTok’s Chinese owner sell the app within a certain time frame as a means of protecting American security and privacy. TikTok has made efforts to put these claims of privacy concerns to rest.

“TikTok has spent more than $1 billion on an extensive plan known as Project Texas that aims to handle sensitive U.S. user data separately from the rest of the company’s operations. That plan has for several years been under review by a panel known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS.”

https://www.nytimes.com/by/sapna-maheshwari, https://www.nytimes.com/by/david-mccabe, https://www.nytimes.com/by/annie-karni

Whether this bill makes it past the Senate or not, it has raised some significant questions about how we consume media. Especially younger generations that seem to be in full support of TikTok remaining available.

The pros and cons of media use

Woman sitting on the train looking at her phone.
A woman sitting on the train looking at her phone. Credit: Unsplash/Vladimir Fedotov

It is no secret that social media is ruling our modern world. Between popular apps such as TikTok, Instagram, and more, young audiences have grown up in a digital age. But their dedication to protecting apps such as TikTok goes to show just how necessary social media has become.

Benefits of social media

Access to information

Social media is the modern-day news. According to Statista, “a 2020 survey revealed that over 80 percent of respondents in India aged 16 to 70 years old used social networks as their main news outlet, along with close to 60 percent of those in Argentina and Australia and over 71 percent of Brazilian news consumers.”

More and more people are going to TikTok to get their news rather than turning on CNN or Fox. It may be easier, but there is the problem of credibility. News outlets need to base their reports on facts but the same is not required for media posts. While the increased global access to information is a plus, the problem of spreading false information is still very prevalent.

Job opportunities

Media influencers are the new age celebrities. Ricky Thompson and Remi Bader, who both have a large following, were invited to the Oscars. Proving that social media is opening doors like never before. An influencer has an endless range of content to choose from. Comedy, health and body, informative, and fashion influencers are just a few of many.

Friendship

The original purpose of social media resides in the social aspect of it. These apps allow people of all ages, demographics, and interests to get to know one another. Artwork in all forms can be shared in an instant instead of relying on museums. Social media has also made it easier to keep up with friends and family regardless of where you are.

Consequences of social media

Overconsumption

TikTok in particular has aided this particular problem of social media. With advertisements becoming more frequent and more accessible than ever, overconsumption is on the rise. Take the Stanley Cup sensation as an example. TikTok put loads and loads of Stanley Cup-related content on users’ feeds which led to a stark increase in the amount sold.

Privacy

Privacy remains a big concern when it comes to these apps. People are concerned that TikTok is collecting sensitive data on U.S. users. On March 29, 2023, “TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew, testified during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on TikTok’s potential threats to data privacy, national security, and children’s online safety,” according to a Congressional Research Service report.

Isolation

The last major concern with social media is the decrease in real-life interaction. Where childhoods used to be filled with games of tag outside and going to the park, now they are seemingly replaced by video games and television. This is not to say that all children are “glued to screens,” but there is the concern that younger generations are beginning to lack social cues and practice.

A new era of social media can’t be discussed without mentioning its impact on careers. While it was previously mentioned that social media is bringing forth a new wave of jobs under the name of social media influencing, it is also affecting many others.

Three men laughing while looking at a laptop.
Three men laughing while looking at a laptop. Credit: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez

TikTok in particular has shown just how much one post can change the trajectory of a person’s life. Many people have a video blow up and gain tons of traction, only for commenters to peer into their past lives. On a few occasions, people find that the poster has said something insensitive on social media and this news rarely stops in the comment section. In this digital age, it is far too easy to find someone’s information online and send it to a person’s employer, school, or family.

Expert opinion

In an interview with Leslie Hughes, LinkedIn Profile Writer, LinkedIn Trainer, Public Speaker, and CEO at PUNCH Media, we discussed just how much social media can intertwine with one’s career.

When asked about her opinion on whether employers should be taking personal online appearances into account, Hughes states “I think they do, I don’t know if they should be. I have heard of a number of recruiters who have said they found their perfect person on paper when they got their resume. Then they do a Google search of that person and their profile shows up and it’s inappropriate on a number of levels.”

However, social media shouldn’t be something you fear. When used correctly, it can prove to be an excellent tool. Hughes gives advice on how younger generations can incorporate social media into their career strategies. “The first step would be auditing their digital footprint…the next step is to really create a holistic presence for themselves using LinkedIn because it is the primary social channel for professionals. Getting opportunities out there, the earlier the better.”

A few tips she shared for creating this profile include getting a professional headshot, putting a lot of thought into your headline whilst including your aspirations, and a detailed “about” section.

Social media should not be a scary experience. There is no need to avoid it in fear of exposing your personal life because what is exposed to the public is mostly up to you. When used properly it can be a great aid whether that’s with careers, socialization, or accessing information.

However, it is important to keep in mind that everything has its cons. The TikTok ban does not only highlight privacy concerns but also an addictive relationship some users may be experiencing. Take this interesting time in politics to form your own opinion on the benefits and dangers of modern-day media.

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Hello all! I am a writer from Baltimore, Maryland currently pursuing an English degree at Ohio University. I write in a variety of mediums including poetry, shorts, novels, articles, and screenplays.

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