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OFWs lament TikTok's pullout from HK

11 July 2020

By The SUN

TikTok pulled out from Hong Kong after the national security law was passed

The past two days have seen many Filipinos in Hong Kong expressing sadness online about the disappearance of the wildly popular video-sharing app, TikTok, from their phones and computer screens.

Many of those who mourned TikTok’s pullout are overseas Filipino workers, who have found the mostly funny videos shared on the app as a much-needed balm for their aching bodies at the end of a long working day.

“So sad, tinanggal na ang TikTok sa app store, ano na kaya ang susunod?,” asked a member of the online group, Domestic Workers Corner.
Another said, “Di bale nang matanggal ang TikTok, huwag lang ang Facebook at messenger.”

Others encouraged TikTok followers to just shift to another video-sharing app, Likee. Some immediately took up the suggestion and were happy with the result, but another complained, “Panay mga Indonesian naman ang mga nandoon.”

Some enterprising OFWs found ways to still access the app, either by using a SIM card activated in the Philippines and set on roaming service, or using a VPN (virtual private network) which allows users to bypass region-restricted websites or apps.

Rain Tuando, one of DWC’s administrators, said “Nagluluksa sila ma’am, wala ng TikTok. Puro Tiktok na lang pinag-uusapan nila sa gc (group chat). Yun lang daw po ang kaligayahan nila.”

While most embraced Tiktok for the funny videos shared by users, others liked it for the catchy tunes and dance steps posted by just about anyone, from celebrities to ordinary people; as well as the instructional clips that helped make some of their tasks easier and more fun.

The app enables users to use various tricks to make their videos more entertaining

TikTok became an instant hit with users because it allowed them to shoot, edit and share music and lip-sync videos of between 3 to 15 seconds, jazzed up with filters, music, animation, special effects, and other tricks. More experienced users can do short-looping videos of up to 60 seconds.
Like with other social media apps, users can follow, like and comment on what is shared on the platform.

TikTok announced it was getting out of Hong Kong because of the new security law imposed by China which gives vast powers to authorities to monitor local users.

“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” the Chinese-owned firm said in a statement, becoming the first major social media platform to exit the city since the security law was imposed on Jul 1.

Other internet giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google have put on hold requests for user data from Hong Kong authorities, citing the same reason.

TikTok’s move is ironic because it is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and has been banned by India recently over national security concerns following a deadly border clash between its soldiers and Chinese forces.

The United States has also threatened to ban Chinese social media apps including Tiktok over allegations that they are being used to spy on users.

But TikTok has repeatedly denied sharing any user information with Chinese authorities.

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