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Ban or no ban, Facebook wins in U.S. threats against TikTok

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. is “looking at” censor Chinese social media apps, including the Chinese-owned company TikTok, comparing it to other Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE that have been deemed national security threats by the current administration.” With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you that the United Country will get this one right, too ,” Pompeo said.

The fear is the app could be used to surveil or affect Americans, or else that TikTok parent ByteDance could be made to provide the Chinese government with TikTok’s data on its U.S.-based users — of which there are at least 165 million. India, calling TikTok a” menace to sovereignty and unity ,” decided to ban the app late last week, saying it had similar concerns.

Though security experts disagree over how concerned the U.S. should be about TikTok, the move would undoubtedly hobble what has become one of the fastest-growing social media businesses on the planet, with 800 million monthly active consumers worldwide, half of whom are under age 24. In the meantime, the mere suggestion of a proscribe is proving a boon to TikTok’s biggest rival, Facebook — and notably at a time when the U.S. company faces growing scrutiny over the same decision not to taking any decision on multiple controversial posts from Donald Trump.

The threat is already prompting some to speculate that Pompeo’s warning was politically motivated. In a new interview with Axios, for example, L.A.-based talent administrator John Shahidi observes that TikTok customers have said they were partially responsible for a Trump rally in Oklahoma two weeks ago that failed to deliver huge crowds.

Shahidi — whose bureau currently supervises nine “channels” on TikTok that collectively enjoy than 100 million followers — doesn’t doubt the two are related.” I’m on TikTok a lot ,” Shahidi says, and” there are no Trump advocates , no official Trump account; no one who is from his squad is on TikTok .” Is it” just coincidence that we’re heading toward November and. . . we’re going to talk about taking down TikTok ?” he adds.

A change landscape

Either way, TikTok influencers are more actively promoting their other social media canals, including Facebook’s Instagram, to their followers as a kind of contingency plan. Soon to join them is rising social media star Pierson Wodzynski, a 21 -year-old who moved track in high school and was taking a break from studying communications in college when, in January, a friend invited her to participate in a display on AwesomenessTV, a YouTube channel that has more than 8 million subscribers.

The show’s set-up centered around nabbing a date with social media starring Brent Rivera, who has 13 million YouTube customers, 19.8 million Instagram followers, and more than 30 million TikTok fans.

Afterward, Wodzynski met herself with the L.A.-based knack organization that Rivera cofounded two years ago called Amp Studiosand in recent months, aided by special guest appearances by Rivera, she has built a substantial fanbase herself, with 500,000 readers on YouTube, 455,000 Instagram followers, and 4. 1 million followers on TikTok.

Wodzynski says her adherents appear to like the comedy bits she develops, such as a recent serial on the” things that go wrong when you’re running late ,” and another on the “Appdashians,” wherein each attribute she plays is a different social media company.( Notably, Facebook is the old grandmother character .) Says Wodzynski, who comes across as both confident and affable,” I’m so unbelievably myself[ on social media ], it’s crazy .”

Little wonder that Wodzynski is concerned about TikTok’s future in the U.S. Partly, she just enjoys it. (” It’s a great app to escape, and it’s so different, with a vast music library and editing software that other apps don’t have .”) But it’s also the source of most of her income, she says, explaining that she helps promote the labels with which Amp Studios operates, including Chipotle. (” A heap of occasions, it’s me dancing to a popular song and maintaining the product, or developing a creative advertisement so it appears enjoyable .”)

Wodzynski says she is ” ready for anything ,” and that if the U.S. bannings the platform, she trusts it will do so for legitimate reasons. Besides, she says,” There are many other streets to take your content .”

It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by Max Levine, who cofounded Amp with Rivera, and who admonishes all of the firm’s aptitude to diversify across social platforms.” Diversify is a good mantra for life ,” says Levine, who learned this lesson early when Vine — the once-popular video app that Twitter acquired, then subsequently shut down –” fizzled and died .”

Land and expand

Levine points to early Vine starrings like Logan Paul and Rivera who” were smart and focused on building platforms on Instagram and YouTube” and who is not simply rose unscathed when Vine was shuttered but whose popularity ballooned afterward. He says that Amp’s patrons have always” promoted other socials on TikTok ,” and that he’d prefer that they not start becoming too aggressive on this front.” I think if every other TikTok mentions[ a call to action ], it could be a lot .”

Yet it’s starting to happen, and with the risk of being a ban in the air, Wodzynski — who says she saw her sentiment count go down with India’s TikTok ban — isn’t immune to the impulse.” Actually, earlier today I is likely to be posting something on TikTok about this whole banning thing and reminding people that if they want to follow my Instagram and Youtube that’ “its what” I post there, ‘” she says.

” I do that reasonably regularly, but I’m going to step it up in more during the coming days and weeks .”

Facebook will be ready, apparently. Yesterday in India, Instagram rolled out a video-sharing feature called Reels to fill the void left by TikTok that will otherwise be filled a different and popular video app in India called Triller, which is based in New York.

As CNN mentions, Facebook began testing the brand-new feature in Brazil last November. Reels is also now available in France and Germany.

Indeed, though Tiktok was not India’s sole target — it also indefinitely censored 58 other apps and services provided by Chinese-based firms — the Indian government enjoys a good relationship with Facebook, which recently nabbed a 10% bet in local telecom giant Jio Platforms.

In fact, in February, before a trip to India, Donald Trump talked about Facebook and the ranking that both he and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoy on the platform. He said Modi is “number two” on Facebook in terms of followers, and that he is number one as told to him immediately by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

As reported in the Economic Times, Trump said at the time:” I’m going to India next week, and we’re talking about — you know, the government has 1.5 billion people. And Prime Minister Modi is number two on Facebook, number two. Think of that. You know who number one is? Trump. You be suggested that? Number one. I only found out .”

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