Is the time TIK-ing? : The Tribune India


How far can one go for fame? Followers in millions and videos going viral overnight; easy popularity seems to have made some TikTokers lose sight of what is right and what isn’t. How else can we explain one debacle after another – Faizal Siddiqui’s account being removed post ‘purported’ acid attack video, outrage at Mujibur Rehman’s apparent rape video; misogynist content, cruelty to animals, obscene acts… TikTok in India is under fire yet again.

If a mere 0.9 seconds could create such havoc, there has to be something worth all the attention! Though Faizal Siddiqui, brother of Amir Siddiqui, who was part of the recent TikTok vs YouTube debate, denied the allegations against him, the fact remains that some content-creators are willing to stoop to any level to create a sensational post. Taking such videos down from the platform after it has been seen by millions and already replicated on other platforms does not help much. Chandigarh-based fashion and lifestyle blogger Naaz Arora opines, “TikTok is far better than Likee and other related applications, but at the same time there should be more screening points when it comes to posting on it. I feel Instagram is more secure, as it provides an additional hidden video warning while you go through someone’s profile or story.”

Shooting the messenger

College-goer Disha compares banning TikTok to shooting the messenger. “The recent TikTok videos bring out the grim reality of society, which still considers a woman’s body to be a man’s playground. One can remove the app, but what about the mentality?” asks this girl. Sharing Faizal’s TikTok video, singer Sona Mohapatra also tweeted on the same lines, “Demeaning women is normal in our culture. We grew up with stories of Salman Khan breaking bottles on his girlfriend’s head in public, yet he’s the country’s biggest star? It needs to stop.”

“If you cannot give a positive message, at least don’t give a negative one,” urges actor Kanwalpreet Singh. “TikTok stars have a following in millions, which puts them in a position to sway opinions. Unfortunately, they are setting bad examples.” Kanwal sees substance in YouTubers vs TikTokers controversy; while any other platform requires one to show some talent, on TikTok it is rather easy. “With hundreds of filters and soundtracks, it’s child’s play to create content. Sans any regulations, TikTok is proving to be a huge platform to spread misogynistic mindset and negativity; it’s time to stop it all,” he adds. National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma has recently slammed TikTok for not removing objectionable and violent videos.

Strong legal action

Actor and anchor Gunjan Utreja opines, “Any platform can be used to build a resource for humanity and also be misused to spread hate or violence. I am sure there are platform guidelines and the company must be doing everything in their reach to filter out mischievous creators. I recommend strong legal action against people spreading rape culture and promoting acid attacks.”

Asks counsellor Punita Singh, “If one goes to a restaurant, visits an amusement park – each one knows what protocol to follow and the host takes on the responsibility to keep them safe, so why can’t TikTok?” she adds. The recent outrage is an SOS for intervention. “Ensuring age-limit rules, make it 18, and assigning responsibility for what one uploads should take care of it. And if TikTok doesn’t comply, the government should totally ban it.” Let’s wait and watch!

(With inputs by Sheetal)

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