US LGBT+ TikTok customers worry dropping ‘protected area’ as Trump bans downloads

London, September 19

US LGBT+ TikTok customers mentioned on Friday they feared dropping a well-liked group platform and valued “safe space”, after the Trump administration introduced it could cease Americans from downloading the Chinese-owned video-sharing app.

The order, which takes impact on Sunday, solely bans new downloads of the app, however TikTok mentioned one other restriction resulting from kick in on Nov. 12 would quantity to an efficient ban affecting present customers.

TikTok, which has 100 million US customers, is broadly utilized by younger LGBT+ individuals to share area of interest jokes, discover a date, and swap recommendation and tales about traumatic experiences reminiscent of being pressured into conversion remedy.

“It’s gutting,” mentioned Rob Anderson a former advertising and marketing supervisor from New York City, with nearly 1,000,000 followers on his account @heartthrobert, the place he posts humorous “Gay Science” movies.

“It’s a space where trans and queer and gay people can have fun with their gayness,” mentioned Anderson, who stop his job to pursue comedy because of TikTok.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that for gay and queer and trans people.”

The 32-year-old mentioned the app’s algorithm made it really feel as if you happen to have been in a room with thousands and thousands of different individuals sharing a joke.

Hunter, a transgender 16-year-old from Michigan with greater than 23,000 followers on TikTok, advised the Thomson Reuters Foundation that LGBT+ TikTok “genuinely felt like it was a safe space”.

“My mental health might get a little bit worse, because, even though sometimes social media can really, really bring me down, TikTok has become a coping mechanism, especially during lockdown… it also connects me with people,” Hunter mentioned.

Dill, a 25-year-old Boston instructor and self-described “Lesbian step sister”, who has 1,31,000 followers at @dillyonce, mentioned the app had develop into a second residence and household for individuals who felt like their “weird and beautiful” movies have been valued.

“Having to leave this community that has welcomed me so warmly over these last few months would be devastating,” she mentioned.

“Without TikTok I would never have been so blessed to have met so many amazing people that I consider genuine friends.” The ban on new US downloads may nonetheless be rescinded by President Donald Trump earlier than it takes impact, if TikTok’s mother or father group ByteDance seals a take care of Oracle that addresses considerations in regards to the safety of its customers’ knowledge. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

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