In the military and on the college campuses that operate for them, there seems to be a moment or two when everyone is screenshotting and distributing a video of a conversation. But this wouldn’t be a moment where a publication like Vice News was the only one being featured at the time.
This was in 2014, when Vice used their cool factor to get the United States Army to drop their ban on social media apps. This phenomenon is referred to as ’. The Army actually started their ban on the apps in 2011, but after a user complained about the ban, the Army has now dropped it. The Army was worried that the apps were being used in a terrorism and espionage capacity.
The Army ban stated:
“TikTok and other similar applications that allow users to record and share videos, with or without audio, provide an opportunity for soldiers to do things that may not be acceptable to the Army,” said the service in an email. “In some cases, these activities may be used to attempt to circumvent chain of command and civilian authority, or to exploit weapon systems and engage in theft, manufacture or distribution of technology, business secrets, and proprietary intellectual property.”
In 2016, the Army was saying the ban only applied to service members, which is why the general command for the Department of the Army actually lifted the ban. But that decision was temporary and went back in place in February of 2017 when US troops in Afghanistan went missing.
“For 2018, we will retain a ban on reporting, downloading and accessing the online social media platforms TikTok, TikTok, and Meerkat,” said Lt. Col. John Dorrian, Army spokesman, to Bloomberg. “These activities involve many forms of crime including theft of Army intellectual property, participation in classified and confidential training activities, misleading soldiers about the mission of their unit or being improperly affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, some of which have terror connections.”
The Army also used notifications with “frequent messages containing noncompliance reminders” as a weapon to keep them out.
“We’ve had to put online social media messages up to remind our soldiers to quit the [instances] that we saw,” Dorrian said to the publication.
Now the Army is still finding reasons to ban both TikTok and Meerkat, but the other excuse has been removed.
In 2016, the video social media application-based platform TikTok was raised to the next level when it received its $500 million Series D round of funding. Users can create simple and fun videos with super slow motion, which results in clips that last nearly an hour. It quickly passed 1 billion views in December 2016, and was at 9 billion views in March 2017.
In September of 2018, TikTok partnered with CBS for its first TV show, TikTok TV. CBS will give viewers a chance to participate with comments and votes to help decide winners.
In the second episode of the show, CBS also released a live 360-degree episode where users could watch from the perspective of the show’s hosts, Kjerstin Fogel and Alex Shibutani.
Currently, users can be banned from TikTok or Meerkat if they violate the restrictions. As of April of 2017, the social media services admitted to allowing over 1.2 million accounts to be blocked. Not long after the initial ban on the apps, the suspension rate increased to 7.5 percent which led to the CEO of TikiTik to claim that suspensions only took place in “elevated, strategically placed accounts.”