The Future of TikTok: Implications of a Potential U.S. Ban

community outreach digital safety social media news Apr 29, 2024
The Future of TikTok: Implications of a Potential U.S. Ban

By: Madina Ansary, Seasonal Public Relations Intern | Digital4Good 


Let’s be honest with ourselves: how much time do we spend in a day scrolling through TikTok? 


With over 1 billion active users, it is estimated that the average TikTok user spends approximately 1 hour every day on the app.


Although TikTok has had its fair share of bad representation, it has helped many small business owners and content creators gain an audience and provided a community for people struggling with mental health disorders. Recently, however, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that may potentially lead to a national ban of this popular platform. 


Why Ban TikTok?

According to Representative Mike Gallagher, national security assessments revealed that the app is a threat to user privacy and has been used to target journalists and interfere with upcoming elections. There are also speculations that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using the app for surveillance and propaganda purposes. 


However, classified information will not be released to the public due to matters of national security. Additionally, no proper public evidence has been released to show evidence of CCP taking part in the alleged reports. 


What This Means

The official vote of the House of Representatives was 352-65, approving a bipartisan bill that requires ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to sell the social media app within six months; otherwise, it will be banned on all U.S. devices. Lawmakers are now pushing towards a Senate hearing, but the path is unclear as of right now.


If the Senate and President Biden approve the bill, it would become illegal for ByteDance to create and distribute further apps for U.S. citizens. 


Who Will This Affect? 

TikTok has given content creators a platform to showcase their creativity and provided others with a trusted community. The instant reach and engagement afforded by the app makes it desirable to many. If TikTok were to be banned, full-time content creators would have to turn to another social media platform to continue their careers. 


For some users, TikTok has served as a platform for marginalized voices. Dr. Jolivette Wallace, associate dean of online business programs at Southern New Hampshire University, commented, “The ban would limit the exposure to diverse voices, potentially limiting the understanding of different issues and topics.”  


Looking Ahead: Strategies for Content Creators

In light of these developments, Digital4Good advises TikTok content creators and small business owners to prepare for all outcomes. Diversifying their presence across other social media platforms can provide a safety net, helping them continue to scale their reach and business operations regardless of TikTok's legal standing in the U.S.


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