During the five-hour hearing with the US Congress, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew gave his testimony, which made it evident that the regulators were seriously considering a ban of the Chinese-owned social media app. This sent a clear message to those who thought a ban was improbable — it’s time to get ready.US legislators have raised their voices in opposition to Chinese action in US market on grounds of national security & protection of kids & teenagers. They have claimed that the Chinese state has exploited the US markets for activities which are counter to the American interests. In order to make sure the app can continue operating in the US, Chew proposed four assurances – emphasizing safety for teens, setting up a firewall to secure US user data, preventing any govt. manipulation & being transparent while allowing access to third-party independent monitoring.
TikTok has become a great platform for fashion & beauty influencers to share their work and reach larger audiences. Moreover, it provides brands with an effective avenue to advertise their products and services. Since the beginning of 2020, it was clear that TikTok was threatened with a potential ban. Although it seemed unlikely in January 2021, it’s now looking more and more possible that Bytedance could either be outright banned or have to spin-off US operations. Mark Brutzkus, a partner of the well-known consumer products firm Stubbs Alderton & Markiles suggests that businesses should be ready to depart from their platforms if required. It is rare to see Republicans and Democrats agree on an issue in today’s political climate, yet both have come together in agreement when it comes to the consideration of a US ban. This demonstrates the severity and scope of the issue that brought on this united front.
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In an effort to stave off a potential ban, TikTok is putting the spotlight on its content creators. On 22 March, 30 of them were flown to Washington DC to have a meeting with representatives and share how their reliance on the platform affects their livelihoods. If a ban is imposed, it can drastically change the earning potential of many creators & brands. In this heated up state, companies must be aware of public opinion, said Deborah Greaves who is the partner at Withersworldwide. If they decide to remain on the platform, which has been subject to a growing amount of scrutiny, there is a risk of major backlash.
Creators and brands are advised to have a multifaceted social media approach, even if policies could potentially change. This is strongly recommended by agencies that specialize in creators and social media. The Vogue Business Index has revealed that it is not wise for brands to depend solely on TikTok or a single social media platform due to the present digital instability. According to Clint Runge, the CEO of youth agency Archrival who was interviewed by Vogue Business in January, those brands and creators that make the most impact on social media are the ones that approach it as an overall dialogue taking place across several different channels.
Also Read: TikTok Bans and Controversies: Is Your Data Safe with This Chinese-Owned App?
With the advent of new technologies and platforms, creators are learning to be more diverse in their business models and investments. At present, influencer marketing remains a huge part of LTK’s strategy even though TikTok may not be around for long. Even if TikTok disappears, LTK will still find many other ways to strategize their influencer marketing efforts. If certain social media platforms are banned, the money being spent will simply move to other outlets. That said, it will still have a major economic effect on countries around the world. While various US-owned applications exist that could replace TikTok in the event of a ban, its fans would argue that it is one-of-a-kind and can’t be replaced.
Summing up, the possibility of TikTok being banned has highlighted the need for platform regulations. Brands should evaluate and assess the risks before continuing to use TikTok, as it is now coming under closer scrutiny. Additionally, creators and brands should consider diversifying their social media strategies. While a ban could affect the economy, there are other US-based alternatives that could be used in its place. The spending would just be shifted to those other platforms if it was to happen.
There is a lot of apprehension about China using its digital companies for spying on other countries. As a common person, it is difficult for anyone to make any sense of this; but we wish there is transparency on every side and innovations and ideas should flow freely everywhere.