SFFILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! For those not in the know, TikTok is currently the most used and downloaded social media app on the market today, long ago surpassing Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s also the first social media app to dominate the market not developed in the United States but its economic rival China. Written and directed by Shalini Kantayya, TikTok Boom is about as comprehensive a film as you can find about the app phenomenon and the positives and negatives of social media in general.
It starts with profiles of several successful TikTok-ers. Spencer X is an award-winning beatboxer who found fame on the app. By amassing a huge following on the app, Spencer X turned his beatboxing talent into a career, gaining stardom and all the trappings that go with it. Another is Feroza Aziz, a young Afghan-American teen who posts videos showcasing her cultural pride and finding a community of other Afghan teens. Though Aziz ran afoul of the typical racist and toxic comments, she would soon be the target of shadowbans and account suspensions when she began talking about China’s genocide of Uyghur Muslims from the China-based app that made her famous.
“…TikTok is currently the most used and downloaded social media app on the market today…”
Then there’s social activist Deja Foxx, who found fame and followers when she confronted Senator Jeff Flake at a town hall meeting. Her confrontation went viral, and she quickly turned it into a career of social media activism. As a result, Foxx made enough money to support herself and her mother’s medical treatments and earned a spot on Kamala Harris’ social media team for her Presidential run. These are the Gen-Z users who have benefited from the app, but as you probably know, TikTok has had a controversial history during its short life.
TikTok Boom documents the app’s beginnings with the founders of ByteDance and their app, Douyin. ByteDance purchases the app, Musical-ly and changes its name to TikTok. The basic idea behind TikTok was to create an algorithm that would push content to each user based on their personal interests by examining their viewing habits. So how valuable would it be to finally crack the code on our behavior? Very valuable (scarily so), as who owns your data can exploit it and you.
"…about as comprehensive a film as you can find about the app phenomenon..."