Of the 4.8 billion worldwide internet users, 20.83 percent use TikTok. With 150 million users in the United States alone, it’s no surprise that TikTok has become an invaluable tool for digital creators and marketers looking to grow their brands (Woodward, 2024). However, although being an essential source of income and exposure for influencers and businesses alike, the U.S. government is pushing ahead with a bill that would effectively ban TikTok across the country. If you’re a content creator or digital marketer who uses TikTok, keep reading to learn how this ban could affect you.

Is TikTok getting banned?

Since the U.S. government’s ultimatum to TikTok’s parent company ByteDance first started making the news, this is the question everyone from digital creators to marketing professionals to casual TikTok users wants answered. Here’s what we currently know about the potential TikTok ban: 

A Brief History of TikTok 

Before TikTok, there was Musical.ly, a short lip-sync video app launched in 2014. Though the app’s creators were based in Shanghai, China, Musical.ly saw massive success in the American market. In 2016, Chinese tech company ByteDance unveiled its own short-form video platform called Douyin. Similarly to Musical.ly, Douyin achieved promising numbers in its first year, gaining 100 million users across China and Thailand. To expand business further, ByteDance released TikTok (essentially a global version of Douyin) in the international market in 2017. Later that year, ByteDance purchased Musical.ly for nearly $1 billion, and in 2018, Musical.ly and TikTok merged into one app using the name TikTok (Tidy & Smith Galer, 2020). 

Today, TikTok has a whopping 1 billion monthly active users, over 100 million of which are from the United States. By 2027, it’s predicted that the 102.3 million current monthly active users in the U.S. will grow to 121.1 million (Woodward, 2024) — that is, if TikTok doesn’t get banned first.

The U.S. Government vs. ByteDance 

Despite TikTok’s supposed positive impact on the U.S. economy (Fujita, 2024), the U.S. government has always had its qualms about the app. Concerns about data security stemming from the Chinese ownership of ByteDance have prompted the U.S. government to take action against TikTok before the most recent ban attempt. In 2020, former president Donald Trump tried to ban the platform through an executive order. Although this attempt failed, concerns surrounding TikTok's threat to national security continue today, leading to the U.S. government’s most recent action against ByteDance (Capoot, 2024). 

Why a TikTok Ban in the U.S. May Be Imminent 

In March 2024, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, a bill aimed to pressure ByteDance into selling TikTok due to national security and data privacy concerns. Should ByteDance refuse to meet this demand, a TikTok ban would go into effect, preventing Americans from accessing the platform (Zafarris, 2024). 

In May 2024, TikTok sued the U.S. government, arguing that the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act is unconstitutional, citing the First Amendment right to free speech. While the lawsuit has yet to be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, many American TikTok users are concerned about the future of the platform in the U.S. The aforementioned bill currently has strong bipartisan support from U.S. politicians, as well as the endorsement of President Biden, despite outrage from the American public. Ultimately, the court will have to balance free speech and national security concerns, but until a decision is reached, people whose livelihoods are supported by TikTok are anxiously wondering how this potential ban could affect their careers (Capoot, 2024).

How a TikTok Ban Would Impact Digital Creators and Marketers 

A TikTok ban could have major implications for online creators and advertisers who use TikTok as a revenue stream and marketing tool. Without TikTok, these creators and businesses could lose a significant percentage of their online audience, which has a direct effect on their income and engagement. 

So what can online creators and advertisers realistically expect if a TikTok ban takes effect? Here are some of the top changes to be aware of: 

  • The Loss of a Vital Marketing Tool: Many digital creators and online businesses use TikTok to earn revenue, either directly through TikTok’s Creator Fund or by promoting their brand’s products or services with engaging content. A TikTok ban would close a crucial avenue for people to advertise themselves and their brands, diminishing the hard-earned audience they’ve established on the platform.

  • A Shift to Other Platforms: In the wake of a TikTok ban, TikTok users would inevitably move to other social media platforms. TikTok currently has a massive Gen Z audience, so creators and businesses looking to advertise to this demographic would have to be aware of where Gen Z social media users were migrating to post-TikTok. 

  • Disruptions to Influencer and Brand Partnerships: As a major digital marketing tool, TikTok is where many businesses execute influencer partnerships; likewise, many digital creators with large followings on TikTok leverage their popularity to secure brand partnerships. A TikTok ban would force advertisers to halt all marketing campaigns on the platform and find other creators to partner with on different social media sites, leading to losses for both the advertisers and the TikTok content creators (Marion Marketing, 2024).

How Digital Creators and Marketers Can Prepare for the TikTok Ban

  • Track Trends in Consumer Engagement: TikTok is one of the top advertising channels for reaching younger audiences, but it’s certainly not the only one. Take note of your audience demographics and look for social media platforms that cater to similar users to identify the sites these users might migrate to if TikTok is banned.

  • Explore Other Platforms: Regardless of whether TikTok gets banned, it’s a good idea to branch out and grow your presence on other marketing platforms. As we’ve seen with social media relics like MySpace, online popularity comes and goes, so you should always be ready to pivot to the next big thing to stay relevant.

  • Forge New Partnerships: Different influencers dominate different social media sites, meaning businesses that utilize influencer partnerships on TikTok should evaluate who would make the best partner on an alternative platform. Similarly, influencers who do brand partnerships on TikTok should take note of the big advertisers on various social media platforms and pursue relationships with these brands (DeBois, 2024; Octatude, 2024).

Across all industries, digital marketing is essential for any successful business. Not only does it establish a strong relationship with your target audience or consumer base, but it also increases your brand’s recognizability, allowing your company to reach a wider audience. If you’re looking to grow your business, start by evaluating your current digital marketing strategy to determine what’s working and what needs improvement. 

If you need help navigating the do’s and don’ts of digital marketing, BlueTickSocial is here for you. Contact us today to begin growing your brand’s online presence! 


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