What a year this is turning out to be for TikTok. The video-sharing app was down briefly today and this sent shivers down the spines of millions of users. Who would blame them–amidst threats of ban by the Trump administration and outright ban of the app in India and Pakistan, it is only natural for people to feel that way.
A bug, which has since been resolved, denied access to users of the app. According to the Independent, users were told they needed to update their username to gain access. Not even an update could get the issue resolved as things stayed that way for a while.
“We’re changing our username requirements and this username will no longer be valid,” the message read per the Independent. “Update your username before the new rules take effect.”
Well, this did not take long as users were soon able to use the app. While this lasted, many users had joked that the app might probably have been banned in their location. This did not come as a surprise however, considering the current situation with the US government.
The video-sharing app was last week banned in Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, several complaints have been received from “different segments of the society” alleging that TikTok encourages the sharing of “immoral/indecent content”
Per Sensor Tower, TikTok has been installed 43 million times in Pakistan; making it the country TikTok’s largest market in terms of downloads. Coming only a couple of months after a similar ban was announced in India, the video-sharing app now has an uphill task to achieve in terms of improving its image globally.
In the US, there are concerns over the safety and privacy of users–with the Trump administration contemplating similar action. While the ban announced by the PTA was due to immoral/indecent content, governments in different countries will begin to question the credibility of TikTok.
As a result of TikTok’s failure to “fully comply with the instructions,” the PTA issued instructions that the app be banned in Pakistan. This would mean that users can no longer access the app going forward.
In its reaction per The Verge, TikTok in a statement said “TikTok is an inclusive platform built upon the foundation of creative expression, and we are hopeful to reach a conclusion that helps us serve the country’s vibrant and creative online community.”
In June, India announced that TikTok and 58 other apps will no longer be allowed to work in the country. The country announced this in a press release; a move unprecedented in the history of what now looks like a cold war between India and China.