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TikTok users mourn, mobilize after Trump moves forward with ban

Not long after the Trump administration announced popular video app TikTok would be banned from app stores starting Sunday, creators and users took to the platform to say their goodbyes — but also voice their dissent.

To the tune of the Titanic soundtrack, creator Sam Horwitz wrote, “Goodbye Charli, goodbye Eat It Katie, goodbye user15025678250724.”


Goodbye again? ???? #tiktokban #goodbye #repost Follow me on IG/ Twitter: @sshorwitz

♬ original sound – Sam Horwitz

Many made jokes about popular TikTok stars like Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and the Hype House creators having to get jobs at fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s or transitioning to YouTube stars if the app is indeed banned.

Outside the U.S., users posted, “Good thing I don’t live in America.”

While others used the opportunity to tell their followers about VPNs — or virtual private networks — to connect with servers in other countries that don’t impose a TikTok ban.

Some even wondered if President Donald Trump’s relentless push for a ban wasn’t fueled by revenge for the effect TikTok users had in supposedly duping his campaign over a poorly attended rally in Tulsa earlier this year. Others suspected that Trump was angry about being unable to advertise on the platform, which doesn’t allow political ads.

However, the majority of the users who posted reactions to the ban Friday morning used the time to tell their followers to vote.

“TikTok will save the world on November 3rd!” one user wrote. Another said the ban was an example of “government control” — highlighting the critiques of experts who’ve said Trump’s decision to ban TikTok — which is owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance — over data and national security concerns is hypocritical. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have long collected similar data on their users, experts told Digital Trends.

Some creators like Lillith Ashworth were taken aback by the news.

“I am genuinely surprised Trump actually went through with it,” said Ashworth. “I mean, I’ll always keep the app on my phone so I’ll post videos until it updates to the point where I can’t. But the fact he felt so threatened by an app, and hid behind data collection concerns is ridiculous.”

When Trump first said he was looking into banning the app, users were outraged. But as the feud dragged on, some became desensitized to the news of the ban.

“This is not the first time Trump has threatened or proposed a ban on the app,” creator Lauren Brown (@raggedyroyal) told Digital Trends on Friday. “I believe that this has lessened the fear that it will actually happen. If the ban does come to fruition, that will take money out of many creators’ pockets.”

A ban in any form will no doubt hurt content creators who primarily use TikTok to make a living — through brand deals and promotions, social media platforms like TikTok have given Gen Z the ability to carve out a profession using their internet expertise and loyal followings.

“Many of these creators have found their niche on this app and may not be able to transfer that to other platforms,” Brown said. “Of course, small creators and POC creators are most disadvantaged by the ban plans. If the ban does happen, I hope that people rally around and support them on other platforms.”

According to a survey done by influencer marketing company Obviously, 65% of creators and influencers on TikTok have been “preparing for changes like this by diversifying their social media.” Many have been directing their followers to their other accounts on other platforms.

Trump gave TikTok until November 12 — after the election — to make a deal and sell off its U.S. operations before an outright ban of the app, possibly to give more time to the parties involved to negotiate. Until then, the app will not be available for download or update starting Sunday.

TikTok said Friday it plans to challenge Trump’s order, calling it “unjust.”

TikTok reportedly has made a deal with American software giant Oracle to be its “technology partner.”

Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri said in a tweet Friday that TikTok’s ban “would be quite bad for Instagram, Facebook, and the internet more broadly.”

“If you’re skeptical keep in mind that most of the people who use Instagram are outside the U.S., as is most of our potential growth,” he said. “The long term costs of moods countries making aggressive demands and banning us over the next decade outweigh slowing down one competitor today.

In response to Mosseri, Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s interim global chief, said in a tweet that not only will the ban affect the social media platform she heads, but of others as well — and called on them to act.

“We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry,” said Pappas. “We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law.”

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Meira Gebel
Meira Gebel is a freelance reporter based in Portland. She writes about tech, social media, and internet culture for Digital…
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