Middle Eastern TikTokers worry about the app’s future

The race to buy one of the hottest social media apps in the market is intensifying as its current owner girds for a court battle with the US government.

Users in the Middle East are concerned about the regional ramifications of a potential US ban.

With over 800 million active global users, according to DataReportal, and more than 2 billion downloads as of April 2020, the app ranks among the world’s 10 most popular social media platforms.

In the Middle East, social media influencers and content creators welcomed the app with open arms.

As of 2019, Saudi Arabia ranked as the eighth-largest country in terms of users, according to Route Note.

With the UAE taking second spot among GCC states, TikTok set up its regional office in Dubai in 2018, servicing the Middle East and North Africa.

UAE ranks 11th globally in number of TikTok influencers, with an average of 380 videos uploaded each onto their feeds.

Many social media experts believe that the controversy has more to do with US-China tensions.

“Data is definitely something that’s part of a big conversation when it comes to apps, but every single app we use has so much data, which a lot of governments already have access to” Alexandra Maia, social media creative strategist and CEO of House of Social, a Dubai-based consultancy business, told Arab News.

For concerned content creators in the Arab world, Maia has a few words of advice: “As marketers and business people, we just have to focus on creating content, building our brand, being transparent with our followers, and just start preparing a little bit on that exit strategy in case it does happen. But until then, create your content, and your community will follow you where you want them to follow.”