A year since TikTok ban, Indian TikTokers narrate how their lives were impacted

TikTok, the short-video platform, was an instantaneous success in India quickly after it launched in September 2016. For ByteDance, India was among the many greatest markets outdoors China and in 2019, the 15-second video platform was the highest downloaded app in India on the Android platform.

One of the key sauces of the success of TikTok was assist for 15 regional languages that made it accessible to extra individuals within the nation. But, TikTok was banned in India on June 29, 2020, over national security issues. It has been a year since the ban, and the app, now forgotten and vilified, was as soon as the one supply of earnings for a lot of.

What TikTok supplied, was a platform for individuals, who in any other case would have by no means escaped the elitist glare. TikTok, regardless of many flaws, was free from biases which can be prevalent on different platforms. Ever since the ban, there was an onslaught of latest short-video platforms. Facebook-owned Instagram jumped into the fray with Reels as rapidly as TikTok was eradicated from India.

While TikTok could have change into a factor of the previous, the Indian TikTokers who had discovered in a single day fame due to the app are nonetheless nursing their previous wounds. India Today Tech bought an opportunity to work together with some standard content material creators who’ve lastly accepted the TikTok ban and settled with another.

What was TikTok for content material creators?

For Geet, a specially-abled content material creator on TikTok, the ban was like a fireplace that turned her months of onerous work into ashes. She misplaced her household of 8 million followers within the blink of a watch. It had taken her slightly over a year to garner such a humongous fan base. Sadly sufficient, she wasn’t the one one, and the ban had left her and the likes of her within the lurch. For individuals, who left their jobs to pursue a profession full-time on TikTok, the impression of the ban was far more extreme.

“I had numerous plans that instantly got here to a halt with the TikTok ban. It has been a problem, rebuilding what I had on TikTok on different platforms. But slowly and steadily, I’m making an attempt to get there. TikTok, in my view, was a singular platform with an incredible consumer base that was very numerous in addition to very accepting,” she added.

“As a motivator and educator on the app, I found the audience to be very hungry for self-betterment. And I rarely received hate on Tiktok. Using other platforms, I have had to adjust my content to cater to the needs of different audiences that seem to be more interested in entertainment, as opposed to motivation or education, and also, I have had to deal with significantly more baseless hate comments. I was not monetizing my content on TikTok as a personal choice. But I have several friends who were supporting their families based on their earnings from making Tiktok videos, and for them, the ban has been financially devastating as well,” Geet said.

Unlike others, Geet did not switch to any of the TikTok alternatives as she was hopeful that TikTok would be back. She then turned to the Instagram Reels, which did become the most preferred alternative to TikTok over time, but her reach on Reels was nothing compared to what she had achieved in TikTok. She was able to reach a hundred of thousands of followers with the same message, but sadly, it doesn’t happen on Instagram Reels. Geet, however, is now back on track and directed her focus towards long and short-form content. She hopes to become an actress in a wheelchair someday.

TikTok, for some, was a full-time engagement

Shivani Kapila, a Surat-based content creator, had left her job as an HR professional to pursue TikTok full-time. Even when the news of the TikTok ban was all over the Internet, she was in complete disbelief. “It was really shocking to see the app go offline overnight. Panicked, I kept looking and refreshing my account. I could see all the hard work that got me 10 million followers going out of sight like it was never there. Shivani said that TikTok was the only social media platform she was active on. It took her a little over five months to deal with damage created by TikTok’s ban in India and get on to other platforms.

“TikTok had a different vibe as it was one of the first short video platforms that built such a strong community for stackable content. However, I feel comparing other apps with TikTok will be a little premature,” she said.

Shivani is now active on Instagram, YouTube and more determined than ever to pursue her career as a full-time content creator. She wishes to pave the way for people who want to pursue their passion but are caught up in the rat race.

Immediately after TikTok was banned in India, the speculations about the app returning to the Indian app stores were rife. The rumours did ease the angst of the TikTokers for a brief period of time, but the return wasn’t certain then. During the same time, apps like Gaana, Roposo came up with alternatives to TikTok and reached out to the popular content creators of TikTok to join their apps.

How Reels has turned out as the best alternative for some TikTokers

Harayana-based Abhishek Garg was one such creator who was approached by multiple short video platforms after TikTok was banned in India. He tried his luck with Roposo and Gaana’s short video platform Hotshots but eventually settled down for Instagram Reels.

It was a little difficult for me to make peace with the fact that I had to let go of a follower base of 1.5 million people, who were used to watching my content and interact with my content, but I think people who were attached to my content started finding me on other platforms. So eventually, I started getting in touch with all those followers and started creating content on multiple platforms. So I could reach out to the follower base I had on TikTok,” Garg said.

Garg, who already had a follower base on Instagram even before Reels launched, said that he is happy with the attention that he is getting on Reels. He is now whole-heartedly focused on creating short videos for Instagram Reels and making long content for YouTube as well. He is also active on YouTube Shorts, but it will take time for Shorts to take off in India, he says.

TikTok’s fate in India is still as blurry as it was at the time the app was banned over national security concerns. A report by The Print suggests that a few TikTok representatives have approached the IT ministry and ensured that the Bytedance-owned firm would adjust to the brand new middleman pointers. However, we must nonetheless wait to see how this unfolds for an app that shot to fame very quickly and has been forgotten by many.

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