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Web Summit 2020 Talk: 'TikTok's Unstoppable Journey'


Today, on day two of the Web Summit 2020, TikTok's Vice President of Global Business Solutions, Blake Chandlee and entrepreneur, marketing guru and internet personality, Gary Vaynerchuk, discussed TikTok's quick rise to fame and how TikTok plan to maintain their growth/popularity. They also responded to the app's continued criticism on its users' safety and the US Government's input into the platform. 

The discussion was led on the topic of TikTok's possible banning by the US Government.  In response, Chandlee simply stated that they are "fighting for our community and self-expression." This topic progressed onto discussing how trustworthy TikTok is, surrounding its accused toxic algorithms. Toxic algorithms are created by social networks to increase activity, which lead to a worldwide addiction to social media. This toxicity is a key topic in the Netflix documentary-drama, The Social Dilemma, where algorithms like TikTok's never-ending 'For You Page', create a constant stream of activity. Chandlee made it crystal clear that TikTok have a responsibility to keep their users safe, they "want to be the most transparent app in the states" and that they are doing a good job of it too. Due to the arguably untrustworthy reputation of TikTok, the question of the likelihood of influencers continuing to invest their time in the app because of the uncertainty was raised, with Chandlee responding that "creators are the heart and soul of our business", and TikTok puts most of its energy into their brand and community safety. 

With Instagram reels in mind, it was asked how TikTok is planning to stay relevant and reinvent itself when needed. It was assured that they are aware of impending reinvention and they are focused on their content graphs as opposed to social graphs. Instagram reels is a TikTok competitor, but while TikTok is watching what everyone else is doing and are not worried, reels do not take away from the fact that TikTok is what it is, and the more time one spends worrying about other businesses, the less time one spends innovating their own. Vaynerchuk was boldly asked "who wins: Instagram reels or TikTok?", to which he simply replied, "TikTok because it is the actual thing, whereas reels is just a feature on Instagram." He added that social media does not just simply compete with each other, they are competing with the likes of Playstation and Netflix, as it is all based on the abundance of time consumption in society. 

This talk seemed to concentrate on TikTok's vulnerabilities, like its potential banning, untrustworthiness and competition, while almost ignoring the positives it has brought to people, especially in 2020 and through COVID-19. It was a very different outlook on a social platform compared to the Tumblr talk yesterday, but it is important to see companies respond to their controversies, both for viewers and themselves. I found this talk very enlightening and created a full circle for me, in regards to other articles I have recently written on the positives and negatives of social media. 

By Abigail Gamble 

A recent BA English graduate, who loves to travel and the theatre.    

Web Summit 2020 Talk: 'TikTok's Unstoppable Journey' Reviewed by Abigail Gamble on Thursday, December 03, 2020 Rating: 5

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