The TikTok ban is good, actually

Rainier Pederson | Web Editor


The House of Representatives passed a bill on March 13 threatening to ban TikTok for cyber security breaches. Although this ban was done for security reasons, it will also help to control short form video content that has spread doom scrolling and caused attention spans to shorten. Students should advocate for local governments to regulate short form video content so we can protect ourselves from the negative effects of these platforms.  

Endlessly swiping up to the next video is the feature that skyrocketed TikTok to its popularity, part of what makes the app engaging. TikTok’s version of the endless scroll led to such widespread addiction that this feature is now referred to as “doom scrolling.” Users, usually teenagers and young adults, cannot control themselves when using the app and continue swiping for hours on end, watching videos algorithmically tailored to them. Other social media apps have taken note of the engagement doom scrolling brings to their app; even when you try escaping the addictiveness of TikTok, it follows you around in Instagram reels and YouTube shorts. Many of these reels and shorts are re-uploads of existing TikToks, meaning users see these videos more than once, eliciting a feeling of never-ending escape. 

Short form video content is concise and brief, often under a few minutes or a couple of hundred words. On TikTok, this content manifests as videos generally no longer than three minutes, which rapidly capture a viewer’s attention before they are sent to the next video. The shortness of this content has led to many social media users having decreased attention spans. We have gotten so used to instant gratification and entertainment that watching a standard movie of one hour and 30 minutes is too much. This is especially mentally damaging since a shortened attention span affects our ability to learn and retain information, leaving us to rely heavily on an unreliable and exhaustible short term memory. 

Some may argue that a ban of the app would unfairly affect influencers, who depend on their TikTok following for money. Thanks to the nature of TikTok’s’ algorithm, anyone with enough luck can go viral and become a popular creator with a fanbase. Although regulation of short form video content will remove a form of content for these influencers, they could still use other forms social media to influence. Word posts, stories, pictures and even longer video formats would still exist, and creators have found just as much successful with these different media types. 

Banning TikTok will not get rid of all short form video content; we need government regulation because self-control does not work. Even if a user does remove the TikTok app, it doesn’t mean that short form video content won’t follow them around to other social media platforms. By having government regulation like the TikTok ban, social media platforms will become more conscious of the type of video content they allow on their app or site.  

Searching on YouTube “how to get rid of shorts” will yield several videos giving viewers a step-by-step guide on removing YouTube’s version of TikToks. There is clearly a demand from the public to remove the short form video content rotting our brains. We can advocate for regulation surrounding short form video content by bringing this to the attention of our local legislators, which can reach up to the branches of our federal government.  

In the meantime, we have the ability to contact these apps through the apps themselves and report the negative effects caused by the short form content these social media platforms keep pushing on its users. We can also delete social media apps, like TikTok or Instagram. If apps are noticing a decrease in users, they will be more likely to change their approaches to content for the better. 


  • I’m really hoping things work out and TikTok doesn’t get banned. Being part of the creators program and actually making money from my videos has been awesom. It’s honestly pretty tough knowing it could all be in jeopardy. Fingers crossed that the ban doesn’t happen.

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