Almost everyone online has heard about TikTok. This short-form video social media platform took the social media world by storm, particularly during COVID-19, and has since grown exponentially. TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with over a billion monthly active users worldwide. In the US alone, there are over 150 million active users and it is the 4th most popular social media platform only behind YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. 

If it’s so popular then what’s been the chatter with a TikTok ban? Due to growing privacy concerns around the amount of personal data collected by TikTok, legislation has been introduced that would force the parent company ByteDance to either divest TikTok to a US company or face a nationwide ban.

ByteDance and TikTok logo

How Would a TikTok Ban Impact Users?

Users who have downloaded the TikTok app on their phones would still be able to access the app, however, new users would be unable to download the app from any app store as it would probably be taken down. App updates would also not be available. So no technically no one could force the population to delete TikTok off of their phones nor would they be able to block Tiktok completely. However, it is more complex than that as this CBS News article points out. 

Impact on Digital Marketing and Content Creators

If a TikTok ban were to happen and users were no longer able to access the app, anyone who had monetized the platform would no longer be able to do so. Many content creators have diversified their audience bases by promoting their YouTube channels along with asking their followers to add them on Instagram and other social media platforms. 

TikTok provides an easy platform for many businesses to showcase their product, create promotional content and market their services. The platform has been making efforts to position itself with e-commerce integrations such as the “TikTok shop” to streamline purchasing products via the app. Small businesses that rely on TikTok for their marketing would lose out as they rely on the TikTok algorithm to push out their content organically vs already having a solid customer base or spending on paid advertising. 

Economic Ramifications Of A Potential Ban

While the economic impacts of a TikTok ban are hard to quantify, we do know that many creators are relying on income from TikTok. Many people who have gotten popular on the app were able to leave their traditional 9-5 jobs and become full time content creators paid by both the TikTok creator fund and brand partnerships. Businesses who have been selling or advertising their products will also lose out on the organic impressions that they get on the app. 

Is there a right answer to the question of a Tiktok ban? Not particularly. Beyond Tiktok there are concerns with data collection and privacy in almost every social media platform. But it is without a doubt that social media has become integrated into our lives and for some people it is their livelihood and they rely on these apps for digital marketing, content creation and an overall sense of community. Everyone has their own opinion on a potential ban and only time will tell what the impacts will be.