If TikTok Is Over, Is Byte Its Replacement?

Real talk: TikTokers, is it time to Byte the bullet and find a new app? I’m sorry to break it to you but the days of scrolling through cottagecore clips, weird videos about little frogs and hot people performing viral dances may be over. TikTok, the beloved video platform that’s given us amazing covers of Megan The Stallion’s “Savage” and an anti-COVID-19 dance and united a generation together to tank a Donald Trump rally, could be seeing its final days ahead.

Late last month and according to the TechCrunch, in the midst of the current tension between India and China over the India-China border, the Indian government banned TikTok and a number of other Chinese-owned apps. Shortly after, the company announced it was pulling out of Hong Kong “within days” after the country’s scary new security laws. And, overnight, the U.S. Security of State, Mike Pompeo, told Fox News that the U.S. government is considering banning the app in the States, which allegedly has made some Aussie politicians question the security of the app here. 

These decisions come following a series of tension between the Chinese government and these countries, as well as claims that the app collects your data instead of, y’know, being just the modern Vine. 

So, uh, if TikTok does fall and we know longer get access to it here in Australia, or even if we lose some of our beloved creators from the States, what happens next? Well, do you have time to talk about our lord and saviour, Byte?

Hear me out here folks. There’s not many other places we can move to. Tumblr just isn’t the same anymore, no matter how badly you want to be a goblin.

Option 1: Instagram

Instagram may be hugely popular but it’s not fit for TikTok or Vine. The platform was made for photo and longer form video content, and in my eyes, posts have more weight than a simple TikTok video. Instagram’s interface is also just vastly different to TikToks, it’s designed to show you personalised curated content from your favourite influencers, friends and family, while TikTok is an effortless scroll of random videos. 

Option 2: YouTube

Look, YouTube may have dominated the game back in the 2000s but things are different now. TikTok’s short-form video style just doesn’t quite work for YouTube, an app where I’d watch a playlist of 15 to 25 minute long Tiny Desk concerts, personality-based cooking shows (RIP Bon Appétit), near hour long beauty tutorials and compilations of the shadiest moments from RuPaul’s Drag Race

So that leaves us with… Byte?

Okay, so here me out here. Byte may have only just launched in January, *virtually* no one is on it—despite us all being inside and going through a pandemic, important social movement and abundance of free time, usually spent laying in bed on our phones till early hours in the morning— and the categories are imo a bit random… but it has one thing going for it that TikTok doesn’t: it was made by Dom Hofmann, the OG creator of Vine. It has potential!

Look, Byte is still in its very early stages. TikTok was only created in 2018 after being a lip syncing app called Musical.y, and even then it took 2020 to become the social media supergiant it is today. 

And, according to The Verge, not only does Byte give creators 100% of the ad revenue from their posts (TikTok meanwhile takes 74%), the company aims to give $250,000 to its first group of creators in its partner program. I’m just saying, with this kinda push, it could carry over Vine’s and arguably now TikTok’s chaotic, cursed and horny on main teen energy. 

There’s even a hashtag on Byte for people migrating from TikTok to the app—#teamtiktok and #tiktokisoverparty—suggesting that it could kick off if TikTok ends up being banned in the U.S. and the millions of American teens migrate to the new Vine 2. 

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a writer and producer. He also claims to be a vine historian, avid connoisseur of low-fi beats, indie hip hop and Kermit memes. In a perfect world, he’d be married to Tyler the Creator, own an Arcanine and a Lapras, and don his own Sailor Scouts uniform. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster, which is also, coincidentally, how one might describe him.