What’s happening with the discussion around a TikTok ban?

By Eve Lowdon
18th March 2024

The House of Representatives in the US passed a bill last week that could result in a total ban on TikTok in America – but what are the need-to-knows?

This news has the potential to have a huge impact on social media and marketers, even for those of us over here in the UK. However, alongside the news there’s also a lot of misinformation being shared, therefore it is important to understand the situation fully before making any changes to your social media strategy.

What is happening?

In the USA, a bill has been passed that could force TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to either sell its US stake in TikTok or face a complete ban of the app across the country. However, just because the bill has been passed in the House of Representatives doesn’t necessarily mean that this ban will come into effect – it still needs to go to the Senate first to become law.

The next steps for this aren’t entirely clear yet, but the bill will undergo a thorough review and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has stated in a video following the announcement that him and his team “will not stop fighting”.

The United States government has had concerns over the data privacy of TikTok users for quite a while now – we all remember the congressional hearing Shou Zi Chew in 2023. It seems as the story progresses that this was a small precursor to what’s set to be in store for TikTok in the US.

What could this all mean?

Anyone who uses TikTok is likely going to be affected by this ruling if the Senate brings this TikTok ban bill into law, as it will fundamentally change the way the app is run.

Either there will be new owners who could go on to make changes to the platform, and we know that historically this approach hasn’t worked out well for social media platforms (cough, Twitter, cough), or roughly 10% of the app’s global user base will be banned and no longer able to use it.

The US has the largest user base of any country, at 143.4 million users, but it is worth remembering that the total global users is roughly 2 billion and still growing.

This will of course have a significant impact on the everyday user, but realistically it would also mean that US-based professional ‘TikTokers’ will no longer be able to use the platform, losing their main source of income.

In addition to the TikTokers themselves, the platform has helped many small businesses to flourish and has become a key part of many social media strategies. We’ve seen brands be encouraged to invest in video content with Meta seemingly copying TikTok’s every move over recent years, so any change to TikTok will almost certainly have ripples of impact across all social media platforms.

The UK and Europe are not currently facing any sort of TikTok bans, and although the app was banned from governmental devices since March 2023, it’s unlikely that the UK government will consider widespread bans to TikTok here anytime soon.

This is absolutely an ongoing situation, and nothing is set in stone yet, so it’s important not to panic. Our team will of course be monitoring the situation closely as it develops, ready for any impact it might have on brands and digital strategies moving forwards, but for now we don’t see any reason to make any changes.

Latest Insights From The Team.

Explore our team’s latest thoughts and actionable advice from our blog to support your digital marketing strategies.

The Trends That

Our latest report delves into the challenges and opportunities for brands in the home furnishings industry. Sign up below to receive our latest reports straight to your inbox as soon as they’re published.

    Read our Privacy Policy here for information on how we use and store your data.