“An explosion. Something that should exist only in movies and on the news. And here he was in the middle of it.” Joelle Charbonneau’s Time Bomb said something very interesting which the fast-growing video platform TikTok is facing nowadays. TikTok which is one of India’s most downloaded app has steered clear controversy in the past fortnight.
The Chinese app which gained popularity for its engaging video content was considered as a potential player to give Facebook and its product a series of competition on the digital video market. But with the ongoing controversies the app has seen a drastic fall on Google Playstore where reviews have tanked the brand to a 1.3 star rating from 4.5+ two weeks back. (revised to 4.4 by Google)
How did it start?
The whole drama started with a TikTok user Amir Siddiqui posted a video that slammed the community of YouTubers. Amir boasted about the unity among all TikTok users. The TikToker went on accusing the YouTubers of stealing some of the content produced by TikTok. Siddiqui added that TikTok has attracted more brand deals as compared to YouTube.
Replying to the video of the TikTok star, YouTuber CarryMinati aka Ajey Nagar crafted a roast video titled ‘YouTube vs TikTok: The End’, Carry, called out TikTok creators for copying the content from YouTube, among other things. YouTube eventually took down the video mentioning that the video violated terms of service. Since then social media has been divided which has severely impacted TikTok’s app store ratings.
Will TikTok be the victim of Anti-China Sentiments?
I feel the timing of the TikTok controversy for was miserable. The anti Tiktok movement of the app got a significant boost from the Prime Minister’s “Vocal for Local” dialogue. Many prominent celebrities took various social media platforms to promote ban against twitter, while veteran actor and BJP Minister Paresh Rawal just mentioned “Ban Twitter”, TV star like Kushal Tandon played on the anti-china sentiments.
What impact will this play in the branding environment?
Even after all the negative sentiments, TikTok has faced, it remains one of the most popular apps in the country. In many parts of the world, advertisers have also started using TikTok’s dance and music to promote the brand to the masses.
With the company onboarding new CEO in Kevin Mayer, Disney veteran the company is expected to improve on the privacy issues and introduce a focus on the new businesses that can be promoted via the brand. According to media reports, TikTok has a massive impact on the music industry and Mayer plans to focus on music and gaming.
TikTok’s – way forward to defuse the time bomb.
One of the major issues the Chinese short video app faces is the lack of moderation, none of the uploaded content is moderated by the app which can in return hamper the image of many that are using the platform.
The app also manages to breach the privacy issue as users post censored content, Bollywood movies, web release as a series of small videos, content is lifted from content creators & OTT platforms. Dealing with those regulatory privacy and security concerns is one of the important things TikTok needs to address quickly.
Community moderation should be the top priority for TikTok. The platform needs to come up with strong policies to control issues such as copyright, moderation, and vulgar content.
We can expect TikTok to return back to form and be one of the effective digital platforms to promote brand communication if it takes strict action against users breaching the policy. Also, as part of the app monetizing, if new businesses go through in the music and gaming industry, the Chinese app will definitely take away a bigger share of the digital revenue.
P.S – The article was originally published by me on Konexio Network