In hundreds of TikTok videos, its users defend the application

In hundreds of TikTok videos, its users defend the application

In hundreds of TikTok videos, its users defend the application

The latest viral trend on TikTok is defending TikTok.

“Now is the time to fight the TikTok ban,” read the caption of a TikTok video posted Thursday about the app’s future. “#savetiktok #keeptiktok”

“Do I believe TikTok should be banned? No,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, said Friday in her first TikTok video, which has garnered more than 3.7 million views.

Other TikTok users shared video montages of the app’s chief executive, Shou Chew, to pop song tunes and applied the “fancam” treatment usually reserved for celebrities.

On TikTok, users in recent days have come to the defense of the popular video app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. In hundreds of videos, they argued the app shouldn’t be banned in the US for national security reasons, questioned why US social media apps weren’t under scrutiny similar and expressed concern that their First Amendment rights were under attack.

The outcry follows growing concerns from lawmakers and the Biden administration over whether TikTok is providing sensitive data about US users to Chinese authorities. On Thursday, Mr. Chew appeared before Congress and was grilled for about five hours, with lawmakers questioning whether TikTok was spying on Americans on behalf of the Chinese government, endangering young people with toxic content and invading people’s privacy. .

Mr Chew said TikTok had a plan to protect US user data and denied that the Chinese government controlled ByteDance. But his responses were widely met with derision by lawmakers, fueling calls for a complete ban on TikTok from Apple and Google’s app stores in the United States. The Biden administration has also pushed for TikTok to be spun off from ByteDance through a sale, a move China has opposed, or for it to try to reach a deal with the US government over data security issues.

But on TikTok itself, concerns from lawmakers landed with a thump.

“There must be an age limit for congressional positions because it was so embarrassing,” one user wrote in the caption of a video posted on Friday.

Many were strongly opposed to a TikTok ban in the United States. Doctors, self-defense experts, parenting influencers and others shared videos saying they were already researching ways to access the app even though it was banned and blamed Facebook and Google for the criticism.

The #TikTokBan hashtag recorded 1.7 billion views on Monday compared to 983 million views on March 18.

Many TikTok users have also rallied behind Mr. Chew, who is Singaporean. They pointed out that lawmakers ask the executive yes or no questions and then cut them off. They also described Mr. Chew’s answers as victories against ill-informed lawmakers, who sometimes asked fundamental questions on the Internet.

And they made their displeasure known in their videos. Some users have stitched together older photos of Mr. Chew and clips from the audience with viral TikTok songs, like Chris Brown’s “Under the Influence” and “Mr. Chu” (pronounced like Mr. Chew). user posted videos of “Schitt’s Creek” character David Rose sighing and rolling his eyes to express his disdain for lawmakers’ questions.One account shared a video of a young child responding to the clips in exasperation.

The answer was probably what TikTok had hoped for. Mr Chew, who has avoided public scrutiny for much of his tenure as chief executive, posted a video last week to TikTok’s main account and told US users that lawmakers “could remove TikTok from your 150 million of you”. He posted another video after the hearing, reiterating TikTok’s messages to lawmakers. Each video received over 25 million views.

“It seems clear that much of America hasn’t experienced the hearing the way many congressmen and political insiders have,”Brooke Oberwetter, a spokeswoman for TikTok, said in a statement.

Mr Chew’s posts were apparently taken to heart by some fans who posted on TikTok that they found him attractive. A video pasted photos of Mr. Chew to the beat of K-pop girl group New Jeans’ lyrics: “Oh my, oh my God, I was really hoping he made it through.” The caption read, “Come for us shou oppa,” referring to a Korean term for older men. It garnered over 4.3 million views.

Others have called Mr Chew, 40, a married father of two, a “zaddy”, a slang term that rhymes with “dad” and refers to older, attractive men.

“If TikTok is bad, why is it good???” a user posted a video with over three million views. “Shou zi chew didn’t chew, he devoured,” said a comment, which had some 29,000 likes, under another video supporting Mr Chew.

Mr Chew, who had less than 20,000 followers on his personal TikTok account on March 21, now has 557,000 followers, according to Trendpop, a social media analytics firm.

TikTok users also scoffed at some of the lawmakers’ questions. One of the targets of their anger was Representative Richard Hudson, Republican of North Carolina, who asked Mr Chew during last week’s hearing if TikTok “can access home Wi-Fi”. The exchange – including Mr Chew’s puzzled response saying “only if user turns on Wi-Fi” – was shared in multiple posts.

A caption read, “We’re…not entirely sure…if Rep. Richard Hudson knows how TikTok OR WiFi works?” Another caption featured a series of blushing, wide-eyed emojis.


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