It’s all over the news lately that TikTok, the video-sharing social media platform is likely going to be blocked in the United States. But how did something like this happen? Why is there such a likelihood for the block? And, most importantly, will there be a way to get past it? The answer is complicated, but there’s a good chance that you will be able to get around the geo-restriction on the app.
How Did This Whole Issue Start?
The ultra-popular platform is being used by a whopping 800 million people worldwide, and between 65 to 80 million of them come from the United States alone. The app has become a household name, and not just to teenagers. TikTok is used by all types of people to promote content such as artwork, causes, professions, religions, and much, much more. Incredibly, TikTok has had such a profound influence on the public, that it can be named as a huge proprietor of many of the organized political protests and rallies; the most famous of which being the Trump campaign’s Tulsa rally, where TikTokers bought out thousands of tickets and never showed up, creating an almost empty event.
So Why Would The App Be Blocked?
TikTok is owned by a company called ByteDance, which is located in Beijing. This Chinese-owned company has been accused by the US President of stealing billions of dollars worth of US intellectual property. Basically, the Chinese company is being accused of stealing tons of US data. If this data falls into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, it could be added into their surveillance data, which could potentially prove to be problematic for US-Chinese relations, as well as US citizens’ privacy. The app has been called “a threat to the West”, as it is installed on literally millions of American mobile devices across the country.
TikTok Denies The Spying Claims
The video-sharing company fully denies any mishandling of data, and says that claims of them handing it over to the Chinese are completely false. TikTok US’s General Manager, Vanessa Pappas, issued a statement to counter the White House’s claims saying that “When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app, because we know it’s the right thing to do,” she continued on to say that “We’re here for the long run, continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok.”
What Is TikTok Doing to Try And Stay In The US
The ban is looking pretty serious, and TikTok has been taking it seriously as well. The company is moving away from its Chinese parent in order to prove to the US that they are handling American data responsibly. Over the past year, TikTok has increased its US job count by 300%, and plans to keep increasing that number over the next few years. It also has opened up Transparency Centers which are meant to “provide outside experts an opportunity to directly view how our teams at TikTok go about the day-to-day challenging, but critically important, work of moderating content on the platform.”
How Are US TikTokers Responding To The Potential Ban
Needless to say, the millions of American TikTok users are extremely displeased with the idea of banning the app in the US, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when for many of them, it is the only source of entertainment that they have. Once news hit about the ban being very likely to happen within the next few days or weeks, creators everywhere started posting videos saying tearful goodbyes to their followers, requesting they continue to follow them on Instagram.
A Tearful Goodbye
One user, Hope Schwing, who has a TikTok following of 8 million users, posted a video last week to her loyal followers thanking them for “changing her life.” Her video showed the growth of her account over the year, and ended in a tearful shot of her blowing a kiss to her fans. Written in text she sent the following message: “I never thought anyone would watch my videos, but here we are. This isn’t just an app. It’s a family. Each and every one [sic] of you have changed my life for the better … You have all made so many of my dreams come true at such a young age. I love you. Thank you.” Hope is one of literally thousands of distraught Tiktok users who are upset about the potential ban
How Can You Get Past The Block If You Live In The USA?
If it really does come to pass that TikTok gets banned in the United States, there is a way you could still access it. Getting yourself a super-secure VPN (Virtual Private Network) might just be your only ticket to staying on the app, even if you live in the USA. Using a VPN can get you past the geo-block by masking your computer’s IP address. Your computer, just like your house, has its own address that applications (like TikTok) can see and determine whether you are allowed to access certain content based on your location. With a VPN, you can choose a server in a different country (one where the app is not banned) and “jump” to a new location, even though you’ve never left your house.
Which VPN Will Work For Unblocking TikTok?
Not all VPNs are created equal, that’s why it’s important to know which ones to sign up for to ensure you will get past the TikTok geo-restriction. You will need to look for one that has many options for servers in many locations throughout the world. This way, you’ll have plenty of new IP addresses to choose from, even if TikTok finds out you’re using a VPN and blocks you again. With a quality VPN, you will have many server location options, so you simply try again from another location. You also need to look for one with air-tight security, so you know you are safely anonymous, as well as super-fast speeds, so you don’t have to sit through hours of buffering time.
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