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Will TikTok Be Banned?

*This blog is a follow up to our “Everything You Need to Know About the Possible TikTok Ban” post in April 2023.

Yes, you read that right. There is the potential that TikTok will be banned in the United States before year’s end. If you’re not versed in all things TikTok, here are some quick stats:

  • TikTok has over 1.5 billion monthly active users—150 million of those being Americans (surpassing X, Reddit, Pinterest, and Snapchat).

  • The US saw a 1239.29% user growth rate between 2018 and 2023.

  • Americans 18 and over are estimated to spend 55.8 minutes per day on TikTok.

  • TikTok is most popular among millennials and Gen Z.

  • TikTok is the highest-grossing non-game app.

  • More than 55 million TikTok users in the US have shopped on the platform. 

So yes, a ban on this increasingly popular app may be imminent. But before you go deleting or ignoring your brand’s TikTok account, let’s dive deeper into what’s going on down on Capitol Hill.

The threat of a TikTok ban has been in the news for months, with congressional hearings taking place a year ago. In early March 2024, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of  1) banning the app, or 2) in ByteDance selling the app to a US company, within six months

In short, here are some concerns the government has regarding the popular social media app:

  1. National security: Fears that ByteDance, a Chinese company, might be collecting sensitive user data and sharing it with the Chinese government. Additionally, worries that the Chinese government will manipulate content to influence the American public.

  2. Privacy: Concerns that the app is inappropriately gathering user data, especially from minors. 

  3. Content regulation: Incidents of harmful content, misinformation, hate speech, and predatory behavior on TikTok.

  4. Geopolitical tensions: Relational strain between the US and China.

  5. Competition and market control: Attempts to assert control over the digital marketplace.

Even if the bill is passed by September, TikTok can appeal and draw out the trial. Critics argue that banning the app goes against the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. But proponents of the ban would clap back that the threats outweigh this freedom.

So, why not just sell the app to a US company? Because that feat faces challenges of its own. The likely multi-billion dollar price tag is something few companies can afford. And those tech companies who can afford it (like Meta, Apple, or Google, for example) risk violating antitrust laws (i.e. owning so much so that it becomes monopolistic). And, perhaps most importantly, ByteDate doesn’t like the idea of a forced sale. Who would?

Right now we’re stuck waiting (and probably swiping through our For You Page on TikTok). You might ask, What can brands do in the meantime?! Here’s the game plan:

8 Things To Do While Waiting

  1. First of all, TikTok app usage is still growing, so don’t jump off the platform just yet (The app ended 2023 with 1.5 billion monthly active users and is set to end this year with 1.8 billion). 

  2. Engage with influencers to build audiences across platforms.

  3. Make sure to save all your content so nothing gets lost should the app be banned.

  4. Encourage your followers to also follow you on other platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

  5. If your brand relies heavily on TikTok, take the time to diversify your social media presence.

  6. Build an email list so that you can stay in touch with followers (and nurture customers) outside of social media.

  7. Invest in owned media (such as a blog or website) to build a direct connection with your audience. 

  8. Stay flexible and informed so you can adapt your social media strategy to new restrictions or changes.

Certainly, a possible TikTok ban poses a threat to brands. But it also serves as an opportunity to reassess your social media marketing strategy and explore alternative avenues for reaching and engaging with your target audience. For more help designing (or tweaking) your social media strategy, schedule a call with Media À La Carte.

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