Sunday, April 14, 2024

India suddenly stopped TikTok. 200 million folks got used to not having it anymore

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As people in the United States are concerned about possibly losing TikTok, a popular social media app, they can take a cue from what happened in India.

Recently, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that might lead to banning TikTok across the country. This has left many of its 170 million American users worried.

However, there’s a lesson to be learned: Surviving without TikTok is doable. India, a country on the other side of the globe, can attest to that.

Back in June 2020, after a tense clash between India and China at their border, the Indian government abruptly banned TikTok and other Chinese apps. Although it was a shock for India’s 200 million TikTok users, many found alternatives over time.

Nikhil Pahwa, who runs a tech website in Delhi, highlighted that the US initially supported India’s decision. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even applauded the move, saying it would strengthen India’s independence.

After the ban, Indian TikTok users had to cope with confusion and disappointment. TikTok had become a massive hit in India, especially during strict COVID lockdowns.

But soon, other options emerged. American tech giants and local startups rushed in to fill the gap. Instagram, owned by Meta, launched Instagram Reels in India, mimicking TikTok. Google also introduced YouTube Shorts, its own short video platform.

Homegrown apps like MX Taka Tak and Moj gained traction too. However, they couldn’t compete with the resources and reach of American companies.

While some Indian creators thrived on these new platforms, others struggled. Many found it hard to replicate their TikTok success.

Concerns about TikTok’s data collection and security have been raised in both the US and India. Despite TikTok’s ban in India, cybersecurity experts doubt it significantly improved safety.

US lawmakers worry about TikTok being used for spreading propaganda, but removing it hasn’t shielded India from similar threats.

Overall, whether TikTok is present or not, challenges regarding cybersecurity and misinformation persist. So, the real impact of banning TikTok remains uncertain.

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