Teen users of social media app TikTok are not pleased with President Trump. Earlier in the week, his administration said they were “looking at” banning the Chinese app, citing national security concerns. Next, the president himself floated the ban as a way to get back at China for COVID-19. Now, TikTok teens are getting revenge on the Trump 2020 campaign app. Their mission? To tank the app’s star rating, one bad review at a time, in the hopes of getting it pulled down.
Threats of a TikTok Ban
As mentioned, on July 6, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Fox News that the Trump administration was “looking at” banning the popular app.
Meanwhile, Trump himself told TV host Greta Van Susteren that his administration could ban the app as retaliation against China for letting the coronavirus spread.
“It’s something we’re looking at, yes,” he said. “It’s a big business. Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful.”
Young fans of the platform, however, aren’t convinced by the administration’s rhetoric.
“I don’t believe Trump is trying to take TikTok away because of national security, but more to retaliate against activism on the app and all the videos about him that drag him through the mud,” 18-year-old Darius Jackson told Bloomberg.
TikTokers Fight Back
On Wednesday, Jackson and many other TikTokers shared a new challenge designed to get back at Trump. A viral post by user @unusualbeing, a.k.a. DeJuan Booker, showed users how to leave negative ratings on Trump’s re-election campaign app. The idea was that if enough people rated the app lowly, its overall rating would dip below one star.
“A lot of you probably don’t know this, but the Apple store is actually set up to where if an app gets underneath one star, Apple will actually delete the app,” Booker said in the video, which has been viewed more than 5 million times.
Since then, clips have popped up all over of TikTok users leaving scathing reviews of the app in Apple’s app store. Not only are TikTokers succeeding in filling the page with negative reviews, they’re also getting pretty creative with the content of their critiques.
The reviews trolling Trumps app are simply iconic. Love to see it. pic.twitter.com/NPnuEVeV2j— 🦥 Ya Girl Nan-Ana 🦥 (@TheBandalorian_) July 9, 2020
The strategy appears to have succeeded in tanking the app’s rating, which currently sits at one star in the Apple app store and in Google Play. However, TikTokers may not want to declare victory just yet. Bloomberg reports that, contrary to the widely held assumption, Apple does not delete apps based on low popularity ratings.
Still, the effort seems to indicate a growing contingent of online Gen Z-ers who aren’t fans of the president — many of whom will be voting for the first time this year.
“This is the first year I’ll be able to vote,” Jackson told Bloomberg, “and I think activism on TikTok is going to make a big difference.”