No One Knows What TikTok Is

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“Most of these push notifications went to insignificant children, and these insignificant children were flooding our offices pinch telephone calls,” Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois told CBS News. “Basically they prime up nan phone, telephone nan office, and say, ‘What is simply a congressman? What is Congress?’ They had nary thought what was going on.”

Maybe TikTok won’t quickly suffer its relevance pinch young group aft all.

That’s not what Krishnamoorthi is worried about, but possibly he should be. Not because each of those Gen Zers will 1 time beryllium capable to vote, but because TikTok is their lifeline to nan world, and they don’t cognize what a congressman is. TikTok is wherever a batch of young group person recovered their community, their voice, their income. Eradicating TikTok, for illustration the sidesplitting disconnected of Vine, rips up a portion of nan societal fabric.

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Kayla Gratzer, a TikTok creator successful Eugene, Oregon, who had a caller viral video astir nan mysterious gestation of Charlotte nan stingray, noted that she would “hate to spot nan time, effort, and emotion gone into increasing their level beryllium stripped distant from them.” (Side note: Without TikTok, I whitethorn ne'er cognize if, aliases when, Charlotte has her pups.)

There is besides thing to nan conception that immoderate TikTokkers make a surviving while besides being a portion of nan taste sermon and zeitgeist. Alex Pearlman, known connected nan level arsenic @Pearlmania500, has built a ample pursuing acknowledgment to his humorous TikTok rants. When I emailed him astir nan bill, he noted that, acknowledgment to TikTok, he’d been capable to motorboat a podcast, build a community, and book a nationwide drama tour. It besides provided nan income he needed for nan commencement of his boy successful December.

“If we had a functioning government,” he wrote. “I wouldn’t person had to outcry connected TikTok to beryllium capable to spend to commencement a family.”

What happens adjacent pinch nan TikTok measure is thing of a mystery. It needs to spell to nan US Senate, but nan timing connected that is uncertain. If it passes, President Joe Biden has said he’ll motion it. Steven Mnuchin, nan erstwhile US treasury secretary, claims he’s assembling a group of investors to bargain TikTok if nan measurement goes through.

Watching each this unfold, I kept reasoning astir thing Norman told me. As a biracial, bisexual person, she’s recovered a batch of her ain corners of TikTok and remains unsure if she could conscionable up and create that connected different level if nan app gets blocked. Black group and queer people, she noted, already look censorship, truthful nan mobility becomes, “Is location a early for maine successful America? That’s not really astir really I americium going to pivot connected TikTok, but it’s much saying ‘Are location immoderate areas successful this state wherever I tin exist?’”