On December 14, 2022, The U.S. Senate passed legislation to ban the mobile application TikTok on government devices. Several lawmakers have since put forth legislation to increase the scope of this ban, and prohibited TikTok altogether in the United States.
The potential ban has raised concerns among social media influencers who use the platform to connect with their followers and promote their content. TikTok has become a popular destination for influencers, with its unique format and features providing opportunities for creativity, engagement, and monetization.
A TikTok ban could have a significant impact on influencers who have built their careers on the platform. Many influencers have gained large followings on TikTok and have established themselves as prominent voices and names on the platform. They have also formed partnerships with brands and businesses that have helped them generate income and grow their careers. If TikTok were to be banned in the United States, influencers on the platform would need to find other ways to connect with their followers. While the natural alternative is thought to be Instagram, the current leader when it comes to influencer marketing, there is always the potential for a new disrupter in the space. Unfortunately for TikTok influencers however, these transitions will not come without a loss. Adjusting to new demographics, algorithms, and followings will require a lot of work, and most likely lead to a (temporary?) adjustment in income.
For businesses that have partnered with TikTok influencers, a ban could impact their ability to reach and engage with their target audiences. TikTok has a large and diverse user base, and many businesses have used this platform to sell to their customers and promote their products & services. If TikTok is banned, businesses will have to re-evaluate and adjust their methods, which could be challenging and time-consuming.
In addition to the challenges faced by individual influencers and businesses, a TikTok ban could also have broader implications for the influencer and social media industries as a whole. TikTok has played a significant role in the growth and development of the influencer industry; for example making short and long form videos more popular than photos alone, or fine-tuning an algorithm that keeps target audiences engaged longer. TikTok’s disruptive force in social media may not be successfully filled by other platforms - with this void the social media landscape could become more fragmented and less dynamic.
Overall, the potential ban of TikTok in the United States has raised concerns among influencers and businesses that rely on the platform for their success. While it is difficult to predict the exact impact of a TikTok ban, it is clear that it could have significant implications for the influencer industry and the broader social media landscape. There is no guarantee of the ban, however many creators whose careers have been built on this medium have begun to consider adapting their branding strategies to better fit less volatile platforms. There is little doubt that influencer marketing will continue to grow over the next few years with or without a TikTok ban in the United States. However, if the ban does take place, the industry can expect to see a period of adaptation for not only influencers, business and consumers.