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US TikTok Users Prepare for Possible Exit

US TikTok Users Prepare for Possible Exit

Saturday, 19 September, 2020 - 07:30

American TikTok users reacted with a collective shrug Friday to the US move to ban new downloads of the video-sharing app -- but many are already planning an exit to other platforms should the clampdown lead to an outright ban.

"Oh my God! Ok! It's happening! Everybody stay calm!" TikToker Nick Foster told his 577,000 followers, dubbing a video of himself with audio of actor Steve Carell's character on the series "The Office" panicking during a fire alarm.

Although young users on the platform, who make up its primary base, don't seem to have paid much attention to the government's announcement, the older ones have reacted.

"Thank you for the fun times," posted The Buyin King, a 22-year-old investor with 438,000 followers.

Some users were pragmatic, pointing out that for those who already had the app little would change between Sunday, when the government ban on downloads will go into effect, and November 12, the cutoff date set by President Donald Trump's administration.

The administration has targeted TikTok, owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance, over national security, escalating a fight with Beijing over the digital technology. The November 12 deadline potentially allows for a tie-up between TikTok and a US company to safeguard data to allay Washington's security concerns.

"This is posturing," said Jeff Couret, a consultant with 376,000 TikTok followers. "For Trump it's a way of showing TikTok that he means business but without hurting them too much."

However, most of those who have built a following on TikTok are getting ready to pack their bags, regardless of the ultimate outcome.

For people who make a living off of their presence on the social network -- such as star Addison Rae, who boasts 60.9 million followers and earned $5 million between June 2019 and June 2020, according to Forbes magazine -- the financial stakes are high.

For weeks now, many TikTok users have been sharing their Instagram and YouTube accounts on their profiles, preparing their fans for a jump to greener pastures.

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