May 2024

The TikTok ‘ban’ bill: Here’s what you need to know

6 minutes

The headlines about TikTok are pretty inescapable at the moment, but what's really going on behind the clickbait titles?
We’re going to slice through the sensationalism and get to the truth of this unfolding story.

Explain why this is happening now and what implications it has for you—the community of creators and the brands that thrive on TikTok.

So come on, let’s block out the chaos and get to the facts, shall we?
The New Legislation, what is it?

The essence of the bill is this: TikTok has to find a U.S.-based buyer or face a U.S. ban.

Why such drastic measures? It boils down to two main concerns: data security and the mitigation of foreign influence.

Data security: American officials are concerned that TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, might allow sensitive user information to be accessed by foreign entities, posing potential security risks. This is not just about what videos people watch or create; it’s about protecting potentially millions of personal data from misuse.

Foreign influence: Beyond the technicalities of data privacy, there's a broader issue at play—control over a cultural phenomenon. TikTok has become so much more than an app; it's a platform where trends are set, opinions are formed, and cultural narratives are made. The fear among United States lawmakers is that a foreign power could wield this platform as a tool for political or cultural influence, subtly swaying public discourse.

So, what’s the timeline?

ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, has a 9-month deadline to find a U.S. buyer for the platform. However, this window could be extended slightly if they need extra time to finalise the deal.

What does this mean for TikTok?

Well, it's definitely not disappearing immediately. While the future may seem uncertain, the app remains as active as ever. Afterall, there are 128 million unique monthly visitors from the US. The outcome of these negotiations could vary—TikTok could swiftly secure a deal, face delays due to complex negotiations, or even explore alternatives to retain some control. Regardless, TikTok isn’t going quiet anytime soon.

What about implications for UK TikTok Users?

While the U.S. TikTok legislation directly impacts American operations, UK users may still experience indirect effects:

Content and feature adjustments: Global changes to TikTok’s platform to comply with U.S. regulations could alter features and content algorithms worldwide, potentially affecting UK users.

Enhanced privacy measures: In response to U.S. data privacy concerns, TikTok may improve its privacy settings globally, benefiting UK users with stronger data protection.

Content changes: If U.S. creators move to other platforms, UK users may notice a change in the variety of content, impacting the cultural and entertainment experience on TikTok.

Opportunities for UK creators: Changes in the platform dynamics could open new avenues for UK creators to expand their reach and engagement internationally.

So, for now, keep creating and engaging. TikTok's story is far from over.

Strategy advice for all TikTok users:

1. Ride the TikTok wave: Yes, the platform's future might seem shaky, but it's still going with energy and engagement. This is your cue to double down. Capture those trends, experiment with new features, and engage your followers like never before. The clock may be ticking, but every second counts—use this time to solidify your presence and make your mark. Remember, every video is a chance to grow your base or go viral.

So don’t pull back—push harder.

2. Branch out: You’ve got a voice, and it’s meant to be heard across more than just one platform. Start channelling your creativity into YouTube, Instagram, and maybe even explore some of the newer platforms like Byte or Triller. Diversifying your social media portfolio is crucial right now. It’s like investing; spreading your assets can secure your influence and income. Begin by adapting your content to fit each platform’s unique audience and algorithm.

3. Stay sharp and adapt: If you’ve got a knack for nailing TikTok’s trends, that’s great! Now, use those skills to crack the code on other platforms. Each has its own language and style. Instagram loves aesthetics and stories, YouTube rewards depth and detail, and Twitter (X) thrives on witty banter.

Learn these languages. Adapt your content’s tone, style, and length to meet different audience expectations.

4. Plan B is your new best friend: If TikTok has taught us anything, it’s that nothing in the digital universe is set in stone. Have a contingency plan. Start building your email list, launch a website, maybe even start a podcast. These channels are yours alone, unaffected by shifting social media winds. They’re places where your most loyal fans can always find you, no matter what.
Plus, they offer different revenue streams to explore, from sponsored content and ads to merchandise and exclusive memberships.

5. Keep your ear to the ground: Last but not least, stay informed. Digital is ever-evolving, with new updates, trends, and regulations popping up constantly. Subscribe to newsletters, follow tech blogs, join creator groups—whatever keeps you connected to the heartbeat of the industry. Knowledge is power, and in times of change, it’s your best defence. Being proactive about industry shifts can help you pivot quickly, seizing opportunities while others are still catching up.

So, to sum up. We’re not really talking about a ban! More like a transformation. It's not just a shutdown; it’s a shift. For now, TikTok is here, so keep creating, keep watching, and stay nimble.

At NU Creative, we see change as an opportunity—a chance to innovate and inspire. Let’s use this moment to expand, explore, and excel.

1. Why is TikTok facing potential restrictions in the U.S.?

TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, is under scrutiny due to concerns over data security and the risk of foreign influence. The state lawmakers are worried that the platform could be used to harvest user data or to push narratives that might affect public opinion and national security.

2. What does the new bill propose for TikTok?

The bill passed by the U.S. Senate requires ByteDance to sell TikTok to an American-based company within 9 months or face a potential ban in the United States. This move aims to mitigate any risks associated with the app being controlled by a foreign entity.

3. What happens if ByteDance doesn’t sell TikTok?

If ByteDance fails to comply with the mandated sale within the specified timeframe, TikTok could be banned from operating in the United States. There's a possibility of a short extension if they are close to meeting the requirements, but failure to sell would ultimately lead to TikTok's removal from U.S. app stores.

4. How should TikTok users and creators respond to this situation?

Users and creators should continue to engage with the platform while also considering diversifying their social media presence to other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter (X). Staying informed about the developments and preparing for potential changes can help mitigate the impact of any sudden shifts in TikTok’s availability.

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