Kanye West wants to create ‘Christian monitored version’ of Tik Tok called Jesus Tok that is safe for children
Rapper Kanye West has an idea for Tik Tok. The video app has been a contentious topic in the U.S. for the last few weeks after President Donald Trump threatened to ban it in the wake of rising tensions with China, citing national security risks. But West, it seems, has some other ideas for it altogether.
On Monday, August 17, he tweeted, “A vision just came to me... Jesus Tok. I was watching Tik Tok with my daughter and as a Christian father, I was disturbed by a lot of the content but I completely loved the technology.”
A VISION JUST CAME TO ME... JESUS TOK I WAS WATCHING TIK TOK WITH MY DAUGHTER AND AS A CHRISTIAN FATHER I WAS DISTURBED BY A LOT OF THE CONTENT BUT I COMPLETELY LOVED THE TECHNOLOGY— ye (@kanyewest) August 17, 2020
Both religion and technology has been a part of West’s brand. In his album ‘Jesus Is King’, West depicted himself as a kind of a lonely martyr, barred from the Christian kingdom. His song lyrics certainly created a divide among Christians in the U.S. He also has had several tech ideas under his various brands, and though not all of his plans have been successful (or even realized), it is not entirely unimaginable to see West going for yet another tech venture, especially one rooted in the religion that he has deeply made part of his persona.
West, further wrote, in all caps, on Twitter, “We pray we can collaborate with Tik Tok to make a Christian monitored version that feels safe for young children and the world, in Jesus name. Amen.”
WE PRAY WE CAN COLLABORATE WITH TIK TOK TO MAKE A CHRISTIAN MONITORED VERSION THAT FEELS SAFE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND THE WORLD IN JESUS NAME AMEN— ye (@kanyewest) August 17, 2020
But whether West and Tik Tok manage to create his Christian version of the app depends on how things go for ByteDance’s deal with Microsoft Corp, which could potentially acquire Tik Tok's U.S. operations.
Tik Tok was launched in 2017. Following this, ByteDance acquired the U.S. video app Flipgram, and the lip-syncing app Musical.ly. The following year, ByteDance integrated Musical.ly into TikTok. In just about a year, by March 2019, Tik Tok surpassed one billion downloads globally on Apple's App Store and Google Play. That number had doubled by April 2020.
But things began going downhill for the company on June 10, 2020, when the European Union regulators began to scrutinize Tik Tok's practices after the Netherlands' data protection commission decided to open an investigation into the company’s policies to protect children's data.
A little more than two weeks after that, on June 29, 2020, Tik Tok was among the dozens of Chinese apps that were banned by India. The government cited security concerns, and the ban came in the wake of a border conflict between India and China. On July 6, 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. was “certainly looking at” and examining the security concerns posed by Tik Tok. The following day, Trump suggested a Tik Tok ban could be deployed. His reason -- it could be used to punish China for the outbreak of the coronavirus.
On August 2, 2020, Microsoft announced that it was exploring a purchase of Tik Tok's U.S., Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand services. On August 6, Trump issued an executive order banning transactions with Tik Tok and ByteDance, starting in 45 days. Trump also issued an executive order prohibiting transactions with another Chinese social media app, WeChat. On August 14, Trump ordered ByteDance to divest its interest in Tik Tok's U.S. operations within 90 days.