In the wake of the tragic suicide of Bedrie Loka - the mother of four who ended her life by drinking fostoxy after publishing video montages on TikTok and derogatory and hateful language towards her (referred to the data so far) - quite a few people in internet called for the closure of TikTok, among them well-known personalities.
"Horror. Modern day assassins have keyboards as 'weapons'. But they are always killers. Shut the hell up TikTok. Now.” - moderator Arbana Osmani appealed to Prime Minister Rama.
"Shut down TikTok!" sounds like a great solution to our cyber woes, but wait a minute: Since when did internet complaints start with TikTok?
We now use smartphones, but before TikTok, people used to share photos or videos (often intimate ones) with bluetooth. There used to be massive use of forums where the language towards each other was not very friendly. Then we moved to Facebook, next we chose to show a more curated image of ours on Instagram and recently, especially during the pandemic, TikTok gained ground.
That being said, TikTok is one of many platforms. In fact, perhaps to your surprise, it is currently not even in the Top 5 of the most used social networks in the world. Facebook ranks first (3.05 billion monthly active users), followed by WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, WeChat. Then comes TikTok (1.22 billion monthly active users).
Let's not forget that TikTok, like all other platforms - there are two sides to the coin. You can find everything there: people sharing interesting information, people making funny videos, people helping others in need, people using bad language, people bullying and blackmailing others, etc.
Some of you might say that even America is trying to block TikTok. We would treat this approach with more interest if we were not smart enough to understand that we are dealing with a geopolitical conflict, as long as China is in the middle (TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company). So it's not for nothing that ordinary Americans are against proposals to ban Tiktok.
Back to our issue. Instead of asking the prime minister to shut down TikTok, let's raise some questions that have more public interest value.
1. Did the police activate their "Sherlock" when Bedrie Loka reported to the police some time ago, or did they misplace the magnifying glass?
2. Are our law enforcement agencies equipped with 22nd century technology to catch the perpetrators of cybercrimes, or are we still a few ages behind?
3. Can we tighten the law against cyberbullying?
4. Can we create courses and training in schools about Internet behavior?
In conclusion, this saga will continue as long as we address the problem incorrectly. The solution does not lie in shutting down TikTok, but in strengthening legal measures and educating people about the digital world. Blaming a platform won't save us from the cycle of cyberbullying. Evil does not come to us from TikTok.