'Oracle just completely saved the day': TikTok users react to looming deal

2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago Tuesday, September 15 2020 Sep 15, 2020 Tuesday, September 15, 2020 7:15:00 AM CDT September 15, 2020 in News
By: Kaya Yurieff, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) — As news spread that Oracle had reached an agreement to become TikTok's partner in the United States, in a deal that could keep the app alive in the country, some TikTokers started posting celebratory videos calling the enterprise software giant the platform's "savior."

One TikTok creator posted a video of herself running around and screaming in excitement. In the video she says: "We're not going anywhere! Oh my God!" Another user shared a screenshot of a news article about an impending deal, overlaying it with animated fireworks and writing: "Big breaking news! Looks like Oracle is TikTok's savior!"

"Oracle came in clutch and just completely saved the day," said another creator in a video. "We all thank you so much. We love you Oracle. You're our favorite."

But it's a bit of an odd pairing, as Oracle is an enterprise technology company with little experience in social media. And for many Gen Z-ers — who make up a large part of TikTok's user base — Oracle isn't exactly a household name. Carter Kench, an 18-year-old TikTok star with 2.4 million followers, said he'd never heard of it. "I still don't know what it is," he said. "For some reason, I want to say it's like a glasses company."

TikTok users have experienced whiplash in recent months over the social platform's future as the Trump administration has moved to ban the app, which is owned by a Chinese company, if it didn't find a US buyer. That's caused a panic among users, with many influencers scrambling to find viable alternatives and encouraging fans to follow them on other social networks, just in case.

On Sunday, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business that TikTok and Oracle will partner in the United States — a deal meant to satisfy the Trump administration's national security concerns about the short-form video app. The exact nature of the agreement between TikTok and Oracle remains unclear, but it was not described as an outright sale. The deal must still be approved by the Trump administration.

"I'm very thankful for it," Ryan Kelly, a 25-year-old TikTok star with 2.3 million followers, said of a looming deal. "Since Covid happened, a lot of people have lost their jobs. For some of us, this is our only source of income. It's a huge blessing if we're able to keep it."

Kelly has been furloughed from his job at Disneyland since March and relies on TikTok as his source of income. He works with brands such as Bumble and Vudu to promote their apps, and he's part of TikTok's creator fund, where influencers are paid based on the amount of views their videos receive. "If it is a done deal, there is definitely a sense of relief and a sense of peace," Kelly said. While TikToker Kench likened a resolution to "putting Aloe vera on a sunburn."

But given Oracle's ties to the Trump Administration, backlash is starting to form among some users. Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison is one of the few Silicon Valley tech moguls to back President Donald Trump. The billionaire hosted a fundraiser for Trump earlier this year, and in April joined a White House advisory group working to revive America's economy. Oracle CEO Safra Catz served on Trump's transition team and donated $125,000 to the Trump Victory PAC in 2020, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.

In TikTok videos and comments, some users pointed out the connection between Oracle executives and Trump and voiced their disapproval. "To [sic] bad the company that bought TikTok actually supports Trump," wrote a TikToker, followed by one emoji rolling its eyes, and two crying faces. In one video, a person commented, "TikTok is now owned by a Trump supporter."

It's not the first time TikTokers have been outspoken about Trump. Tens of thousands of TikTok users trolled the Trump campaign by reserving tickets for a Tulsa rally they did not attend.

But Walid Mohammed, a 20-year-old TikTok manager, believes while there may be some backlash, most people will be happy that TikTok lives on. He doesn't think Oracle executives' ties to the Trump administration will prevent people from using the app.

"People hate Mark [Zuckerberg] but we're still all using Facebook," he said.

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