While negotiations over the future of TikTok in the US are still ongoing, and could still result in a national ban, Pakistan has today announced that it’s moving to ban the app – though not for the same reasons as the proposed US action.
“In view of [a] number of complaints from different segments of the society against immoral/indecent content on the video sharing application TikTok, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has issued instructions for blocking of the application.”
Pakistan, a majority Muslim nation, neighbors India, which banned TikTok back in June due to ongoing border conflicts with China. At that time, TikTok had become a huge hit among Indian users, with around 200 million actives, making it TikTok’s biggest single market, and given their proximity, it’s little surprise to see that TikTok had also been on the rise in Pakistan too, though Pakistan’s active audience is much smaller, with only around 35% of the nation’s 212 million citizens able to access to internet.
As such, it won’t be as significant a blow to TikTok’s global numbers. But still, it’s another concern for the controversial app.
Various questions have been raised about TikTok’s potential to expose young users, in particular, to questionable content. The app was temporarily banned in India early last year due to concerns over “pornographic and inappropriate” videos, which eventually lead to TikTok removing more than 6 million clips, and implementing new measures to enable its reinstatement in the nation.
TikTok was also fined a record $5.7 million by the FTC in the US earlier this year in a settlement over allegations that it had illegally collected personal information from children under the age of 13, while its also currently under investigation in France due to concerns around its measures to protect younger users. UK authorities have also investigated the same.
And such concerns are indeed relevant – a report uncovered by The New York Times back in August showed that more than a third of the app’s daily users in the US are aged 14 years old or younger. Couple this with past questions around its moderation processes, including the demotion of content posted by users deemed ‘too ugly or too poor‘, and it doesn’t paint a great image of the app, and its measures to assure the protection of younger users.
Given the various factors, Pakistan’s decision to ban the app is not a major surprise – but as noted, it’s another mark against the app’s name, which further taints the brand, and could eventually lead to a bigger push for more action against the app in other regions.
Definitely, it remains a contentious platform – its young user base, combined with its focus on dance trends, can easily lend the app to more suggestive, concerning actions as uploaders chase engagement. And that’s before you even consider the potential links with the Chinese government, and the app’s requirements to share user data with the CCP.
As such, while TikTok might not be losing a massive chunk of its audience with the Pakistan ban, the expanded implications are significant, and will further add to opposition against the app.
It’s little wonder, then, that TikTok is very keen to highlight trends like this instead:
But is that true? All platforms have to deal with moderation concerns, and those concerns only grow in line with usage. In this sense, TikTok should maybe be given some leeway in addressing such issues – but then again, its parent company ByteDance is very experienced in moderation concerns and dealing with potential issues.
How you view such will largely come down to your own experience of the platform and what it represents, but clearly, valid concerns do remain. Whether they lead to further restrictions on the app, we’ll have to wait and see.
All Sober’s explosive Facebook growth
Image courtesy All Sober
Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.
When we look at the data on emerging brands building a community through social media, the numbers show just how difficult it is to achieve growth and authentic engagement. In the past few years, most brands have found that social media marketing is an uphill climb.
According to a study from DigitalMarketingCommunity.com, the median engagement rate on Facebook for all industries is just 0.06%. However, there are exceptions. When we came upon the new addiction recovery platform All Sober, a site that officially launched in May, we were impressed by its social marketing strategy. We saw a growing, and more importantly, engaged community that was rallying behind a new startup. That initial impression was cemented further when we calculated its engagement. It was hovering just under 10% for the week—166 times the median percentage.
A deeper dive showed that this was not an anomaly, nor was it the result of bots or fake engagement. This was a true community buzzing around a common passion, which anyone familiar with the digital marketing space will tell you is becoming increasingly rare. Add to that the fact that All Sober’s platform and apps launched less than six months ago, and it became crystal clear that it had tapped into something very special to achieve this level of explosive growth.
Considering how difficult it can be for new brands to stand out on social media (especially Facebook), we wanted to answer an important question: What is All Sober doing that so many others are not? The answer is surprisingly simple.
What sets All Sober apart is its uncanny ability to elevate human stories and interactions to truly celebrate a very specific audience. Attention is a critical commodity in digital strategy, and the way All Sober has earned this level of lean-in and community participation is by honoring the accomplishments of people in recovery and putting a human face to the achievement of sobriety. For as long as people impacted by addiction have sought out help, the greatest strength of the community has been a strong sense of shared experience.
All Sober taps into that spirit and honors the successes of everyone on the platform. Its Facebook page has become a place for people to celebrate their “soberversaries,” cheering them on and inspiring the community to understand recovery is possible.
All Sober’s success is apparent, especially when compared to other, more established names in the space.
For example, on Sept. 9, All Sober had a post go viral entirely on its own—no ad budget was placed behind the content, and it was driven exclusively by the community. Four days later, the post had garnered 718,000 reactions, 45,500 comments and 16.6 million impressions—organically.
Naturally, this had an impact on the page’s overall engagement for the week. Despite having a fraction of the size of Psychology Today’s Facebook following (7.4 million likes), All Sober (31,000 likes) produced more than triple the engagement of this mental health juggernaut. And while one might think that this is an anomaly caused by a single viral post, All Sober’s outpacing of industry leaders such as Shatterproof (112,000 likes) and In The Rooms (154,000 likes) has been a constant since February 2022.
The difference-maker is coming in the form of positive content marketing and strategic amplification. Here’s what that looks like in practice.
Whether it’s a month of sobriety or 25 years, there is a sense of hopeful celebration that makes these social platforms a place for participants to engage and chime in with their own victories, stories and tips. This inspirational platform has drawn in massive numbers of people who participate every day on the Facebook page, and it is the driving force behind All Sober’s peerless Facebook engagement rate.
All Sober, like any new platform, amplifies content in the interest of gaining new, targeted, quality followers for the brand. But what makes its engagement numbers so remarkable is that none of the content itself is boosted. The organic participation makes All Sober a true innovator in the way recovery and sobriety is discussed online.
“It’s fair to say that most brands, to one degree or another, rely on advertising to help their message stand out,” said John Oates, president of JPO Digital, which works with All Sober’s social media team to grow the brand. “But the normal KPIs with All Sober are starkly better than most other brands that we’ve seen, and I think that is a testament to the quality of the content we’re able to use and the story that the brand is telling.”
“I feel like many brands neglect the value of true storytelling, of really drilling down on what value you can deliver to the people who are viewing your content. All Sober has leaned into that beautifully, and we’ve been able to build a fever-pitch following as a result.”
All Sober’s success on Facebook has inspired the organization to replicate that success on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, where it can continue to grow large followings with positive messages of shared hope and inspiration.
All Sober was born after its founders, Paul Gayter and Flora Nicholas, experienced the anguish of addiction firsthand.
“Our loved one’s addiction led us to experience the problems that hundreds of millions of Americans faced daily throughout the addiction-recovery life cycle: searching all over the internet for help and information in times of crisis, for recovery group support, for treatment options, for sober communities and sober life information, and for resources to help them get jobs, among other things,” Nicholas shared.
“During our recovery journey, we recognized that there were major problems at every stage of the addiction and recovery life cycle—that existing solutions for people in need were fragmented, highly specialized, not available on the scale that the problem demands, or nonexistent.”
As a result, Nicholas and Gayter dedicated their lives to changing the narrative and improving the process for people seeking recovery and getting the help they need to navigate addiction.
“The only way of alleviating the constant search for solutions was to bring together everything that people need and house it all in one platform. That inspired us to create All Sober,” Nicholas added. “And while we have many iterations left to implement, I’m proud to say that we built just that—a one-stop shop for addiction treatment , recovery and sober life.”
All Sober is spearheading a movement intended to make sustaining and maintaining sobriety accessible to the people who are impacted by the global epidemic of addiction. Gayter, Nicholas and the leadership team understand better than most what people go through and the types of resources they need for sustained success. Those personal experiences are the inspiration behind building this community and platform around hope, sharing resources, and positive engagement.
All Sober’s unprecedented social media success is a testament to its ability to tap into the inspiring stories of people who proudly celebrate their sobriety, while offering a forum and a wealth of resources for the hundreds of millions of Americans touched by drug and alcohol addiction.
By ending the stigmas associated with drug and alcohol addiction and embracing the community that understands just how common this disease is, All Sober has found a way to achieve enviable engagement numbers via a welcoming and open forum offering hope to those who need it.
All Sober’s explosive Facebook growth
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