TikTok Ban USA: Sell? Ban? Sue? Which Rumours Are True?

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Posted by Christina


Tik Tok Logo

Yes, it’s true. The USA has recently approved a legislation creating a law which bans TikTok (a Bytedance owned social/entertainment platform). This law was approved by Senate back in March and escalated to Congress in April, at which point, President Joe Biden signed the bill to approve the law to come into effect but not be enforced prior to the 2024 US re-election, which occurs on November, 5th 2024.

Can I still use TikTok?

Yes, for now. Essentially, until the 2024 US re-election (and even beyond), TikTok will remain active in the USA for you to use as you normally do, be that as a viewer for entertainment,

or as a creator/advertiser/seller for an additional lead/revenue stream. The app will remain accessible on your phones, the web and all app stores. BUT…potentially not in the future.

Why is TikTok banned?

Essentially, the US Government has stressed concerns of a threat to US national security surrounding the Chinese owned app, and the sharing/re-selling of US citizens data. This is not a new debate between the US Government and Chinese owner of TikTok, Bytedance.

If you need support diversifying your social media strategy or require more advertising expertise across a multitude of social platforms, you can reach out to our team.

Security surrounding US data has been in debate since 2020, to which Bytedance released this response citing all US data would be managed and housed within the USA.

The US Government’s efforts at this point failed to enforce a ban of the social entertainment platform. However, the US Government’s recent bill changing the law is legislating an ultimatum which has Bytedance’s hands tied in what looks like a ‘lose:lose’ situation (assuming it goes all the way). The bill President Joe Biden has approved to become law presents Bytedance with the following two options for TikTok:

    1. Sell the USA arm of the app within a 9-month timeframe (following the date the bill was passed despite it coming fully into effect post-election) which means the deadline for Bytedance currently looks like January 2025. Or…
    2. If Bytedance refuse to sell, the app will be banned in the USA, meaning it will be blocked from devices and no longer accessible to download from android/iPhone app stores. Again, the earliest this could be enforced is January 2025.

However, if Bytedance are unsuccessful in achieving a sale by the deadline set by the US Government but able to demonstrate significant progress in executing a sale, President Joe Biden (or whomever is President post-election) can approve a one-time 90 day extension, meaning the app could have up to 1 year to successfully sell its US arm.

The Whitehouse
Photo credit: Donghun Shin

TikTok & its creators sue US government over ban

Bytedance (TikTok’s owners) isn’t going down quietly nor is it expecting to have to abide by this law at all, following suing the federal government on May, 7th 2024 alongside a 67-page petition. This case is expected to reach the Supreme Court and whether successful or not, certainly can delay things. TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew is also rallying support from users across its app. However, it’s not just the app itself taking action; content creators in the US have also sued the federal government one week after Bytedance, citing the new bill violates their first amendment rights. Given content creators (dependent on their success) can be paid quite handsomely by TikTok for their content contributions (some $1 per 1,000 views on a single video), many are concerned their income is about to be significantly reduced.

Is it fair?

That’s very much subject to personal interpretation and political views, so we’ll let you cast your own opinion regarding whether you agree with the newly created US law which could lead to TikTok being banned from all of America.

However, we do approve of greater regulation across all social platforms and whilst security surrounding data protection and user behaviour has been advancing over the years (you could argue more so once under the scrutiny of Government) there is always more to do. It’s also worth keeping in mind social platforms are constantly evolving, as is the way people engage with them, with many of these platforms being created/launching at a time laws surrounding online engagement and protection didn’t even exist. So, whilst no social platform is perfect, they are unlikely to be the only online sector requiring greater improvement or reassurance surrounding their practice.

What can I do?

Whether or not the ban actually comes into effect, you should consider diversifying your digital marketing strategy across additional social platforms so you’re not solely reliant on TikTok for your organic and/or paid social activity. Creators/influencers have already begun duplicating/expanding where they publish their content to protect their brand visibility and social following. Many of which have favoured video heavy platforms such as YouTube and Instagram (reels especially have surpassed the reach of all other content formats across Meta platforms Instagram and Facebook). These platforms have also expanded their content offering and placements to suit the behaviours of TikTok users e.g. Reels (Meta) and Shorts (YouTube/Google).

We would always recommend advertising/posting organically across more than one social platform as you’ll gain incremental reach. Whilst there is cross-over between social platforms (because one person can have accounts across multiple platforms) there is always extended, unique reach available e.g. your target customer could have an account on TikTok but might not have an account on Facebook and vice versa.

If you need support diversifying your social media strategy or require more advertising expertise across a multitude of social platforms, you can reach out to our team.