Students anticipate effects of potential bans on TikTok, WeChat

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Ore James

Students have varied reactions to the potential ban on TikTok and WeChat downloads.

Ore James, Online Editor-in-Chief

Students and teachers alike have ridden the TikTok wave for the past few years, with the app’s algorithm keeping users glued to various corners of niche content. Federal plans to ban downloads of TikTok and WeChat – citing ‘national security concerns’ for the Chinese-owned apps – however, prompted varied reactions among students who rely on the apps for entertainment and communication.

While a federal judge blocked the executive order in September, the fate of the apps is still unclear, as federal courts agreed to fast-track the government’s appeal of the judge’s block last week.

Senior Grace Yin, a frequent user of WeChat, noted the potential ban’s impact on families who rely on WeChat to communicate.

“For me and my family it connects to people in China,” Yin said. “Traditional apps like Groupme can’t, so I can talk to my family members with WeChat.”

Because WeChat enables international communication, the proposed ban came as an inconvenience to students like Yin, who use the app to connect with family.

For me and my family it connects to people in China. Traditional apps like Groupme can’t.”

— Senior Grace Yin

“We’ve been trying to find a replacement for several weeks since hearing about the ban,” Yin said.

Students like senior Sejal Ramlogun, an avid TikTok user, experienced confusion at the initial announcement, noting apparent contradictions in communication of the policy.

“The information I was hearing from the government compared to the people who work for TikTok in America was very different,” Ramlogun said. “The people who run the American branch of the app kept saying they weren’t going anywhere.”

Like Ramlogun, Yin was weary of the ban’s intent.

“Even Snapchat uses data mining features, so to ban Chinese apps exclusively is odd because literally every other app in the app store does this,” Yin said.

Junior Tucker Timothy took more of an issue with the implications of the order itself.

“I don’t really have an issue with the banning of TikTok itself as it is owned by property of the Chinese government and could ultimately harm the US,” Timothy said. “However, I feel it sets a bad precedent for presidents to ban private companies they don’t like, and it could create a process that is ultimately abused in the future.”

In the meantime, as court battles keep the fate of the apps in limbo, students plan to continue using the apps for their unique features and distinct content.

“I’m pretty indifferent toward TikTok itself, as it can create funny videos and overall is just people having fun,” Timothy said.