From China to the United States, TikTok has also been in the thick of political partisanship and global diplomacy. The platform became a prominent arena for anti-Trump protests – users were credited for having a role to play in the poor turnout at former President Trump’s Tulsa re-election rally in June. They also forced his campaign to reset the Trump app’s rating after TikTokkers trolled it with bad reviews. Overnight, the Donald Trump administration signed an executive order that would prevent Americans from conducting ‘any transaction’ with the Chinese owners over concerns about national security.
The platform is already nurturing outliers within the continent: content creators using the app for political satire and humanitarian activities. Weetracker notes that TikTok’s attention to Africa makes absolute sense. Africa is the world’s youngest continent with a median age of 20 years compared to India, which is 27, and America, which is 38. It presents greater access to its target audience: the so-called Millennials and Gen Z. With TikTok, young teens learn to make meanings from social situations, not only in the online space but also in their offline lives where teens reflect and evaluate other people’s reactions to their videos. With its grassroots quality, TikTok could also determine youth culture in Nigeria for many years.
While a tiny segment of the focus group claims they hate the app, their feedback was mostly about time management and “pointless” content: “It is full of useless content. Only one out of 2,000 content there is meaningful”; “It burns data”; It is neither necessary nor unnecessary. It is quite time and data consuming as well”. The group was divided on whether Tiktok has influenced their lifestyle, with users highlighting how it has affected their music tastes, fashion choices, creativity, and access to information.