TikTok likes and views are broken for some unknown portion of the video app’s user base this afternoon. The impacted users are seeing a “zero” like count on TikTok posts, including their own and those of other app users, as well as “zero” views. The company has acknowledged the issue and says it’s working on a fix, but declined to explain what was causing the problem.
The company said that users should soon see their app experience return to normal as the problem was resolved on the company’s end.
While typically a bug like this isn’t much cause for concern — online apps do break, on occasion — the problem with TikTok comes at a time when the app is under fire in the U.S. for its ties to China.
This week, reports emerged that the U.S. was considering banning TikTok and other Chinese-owned social media apps, according to statements made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. TikTok has already been banned in India, along with 58 other Chinese apps, for similar reasons.
Today, The Wall Street Journal reported that executives at TikTok parent ByteDance are considering changing the corporate structure of TikTok’s business or even establishing a headquarters for the company outside of China, in order to further distance TikTok from China and the potential for the app being compromised by Chinese authorities. This is not the first time such discussions have taken place.
In this context, the issues around Like counts were seen by some users today as a signal that a ban was imminent. But that’s not the case.
A few users theorized TikTok was making some sort of change to its algorithms, because their “For You” page seemed to no longer reflect their interests when Like counts returned. But this is impossible to confirm at this time.
The news of TikTok’s demise in the U.S., however, has concerned the TikTok community. As a result, they’ve already begun fleeing to rival apps like Byte, Dubsmash and Likee in the U.S. Byte, for example, jumped from No. 210 in Social Networking in the U.S. App Store on July 5 to No. 1 in Social and No. 1 Overall as of today, thanks to an exodus of primarily Gen Z TikTok users.
Update 8:49 PM ET: TikTok says the problem is resolved.
A spokesperson also offered the following comment:
“Earlier today, some of our users experienced app issues around notifications, the display of likes and view counts, and trouble loading videos on some pages of the app. The issues appear to have been caused by higher traffic than normal on our servers in Virginia, causing temporary service disruptions. We’ve resolved the problem and are investigating the cause, and will share updates as they become available.”