The creative content on TikTok that you and I have access to is not the same as on its Chinese counterpart, the Douyin app.
- TikTok pushes meaningless and questionable content onto its users, especially minors.
- Douyin not only automatically limits screen time to 40 minutes, but also almost exclusively feeds users educational and beneficial content.
Ah, TikTok… the one app that took over the world seemingly overnight. It even had Stoic Zuck sweating for a minute. That is until an all-out war against TikTok erupted. The U.S. government had set its sights on it with one main concern: the Chinese government’s involvement.
We’ve covered the complex Sino-American relationship time and time again on our website and magazine. The U.S. accuses China of being a threat to democracy and national security. Meanwhile, China looks at the U.S. like it grew a second head, denying any wrongdoing while handing the rest of the world TikTok. Very smooth.
What’s wrong with TikTok, you might ask. You mean besides the obvious data collection? The Chinese version of the app, Douyin, is not what you think it is. While TikTok sucks the user into a rabbit hole of entertainment, Douyin immerses its users in education and knowledge, especially if they are kids.
The creative content on Douyin ranges from science experiments for kids to optical illusion art. They showcase architecture and technology, even sports and physical education. Meanwhile, TikTok is filled with suggestive videos, silly dances, and moronic trends. I know that was a strong word to use but what else am I supposed to call Tidepod eating and toilet licking? Hard to believe that TikTok was created to be somewhere between Coursera and Twitter.
The Chinese government puts a lot of effort into moderating the content. Granted, it’s mostly for political purposes but still… it’s more than what many American companies, run by American citizens, will ever do for their users, regardless of age.
Did I also mention that Douyin enforces a screen time limit of 40 minutes? I know those settings exist on TikTok but it’s voluntary. And when was the last time you did something good for you voluntarily? If it’s something that tickles your brain, you’ll want more of it.
All of these restrictions are possible because the Chinese Communist Party is in power and has been in power since 2013. And don’t take that as me justifying or siding with what is very obviously a neo-totalitarian rule. But the Democratic countries haven’t been doing that stellar of a job either lately.
Is the U.S., and by extension the rest of the world, afraid of regulating TikTok more harshly for fear of becoming communist? Or do they believe that keeping the population distracted, entertained, and dumb is what’s keeping them in power?
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