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Global business: TikTok is not the only loser if the U.S. ban takes effect. You could lose out, too. Here's how...

Updated: Jul 11


TikTok is noTikTok is not the only loser if the U.S. ban takes effect. You could lose out, too. Here's how.

 

Part 3 of a three-part series

 

By HANNAN GILLANI and TUDOR FINNERAN

Global Business Journalism reporters


The United States government is taking aim at TikTok over national security concerns about the Chinese-owned app's data collection and usage practices. Lawmakers argue the collection of Americans' personal information poses risks, with the Chinese government potentially able to access user data or manipulate content on the platform.


The bipartisan legislation that was signed by President Joe Biden in April gives TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, nine months to sell the app to a non-Chinese entity. If it fails to do so, TikTok will be banned from app stores in the United States. ByteDance has mounted an aggressive legal challenge, denouncing the proposal in a lawsuit as "obviously unconstitutional."


"Congress has never before crafted a two-tiered speech regime with one set of rules for one named platform and one set of rules for everyone else," the ByteDance filing stated.


It will be months before courts decide the fate of TikTok. Until then, its 170 million American users – about half the national population – wait and wonder what will happen to their favorite social media platform.


So, all legal issues aside, how would this impact you as a TikTok user? Brace yourself, because there's very little you can do to stop it, if the legal challenges come up short.


The TikTok ban was signed by President Biden in April 2024.
Online petitions are among the campaigns devised to save TikTok from a ban in the United States. (Screenshot from change.org)

1. You will lose a major source of fun and diversion


With over 170 million American users spending an average of 56 minutes per day on the app, a TikTok ban means waving goodbye to a massive source of entertainment and information. That's a staggering 170 million hours of content lost daily that users will need to find alternatives for.


2. You might lose money


The top 50 highest-earning TikTok creators collectively made an estimated $700 million between June 2022-2023. A ban jeopardizes the livelihoods of full-time influencers and content creators who have built careers on the platform. The entire creator economy would face upheaval if they're forced to migrate to different apps with varying monetization models.


Some creators are fighting back. Eight TikTok users have filed suit in federal court saying they would be deprived of their rights to express themselves – and to make money – if a ban takes effect. According to the lawsuit, which is being argument by lawyers for ByteDance, users “rely on TikTok to express themselves, learn, advocate for causes, share opinions, create communities, and even make a living.”


3. You might lose business


TikTok contributed $14.7 billion in revenue for small U.S. businesses last year. Companies that relied on the app for marketing, sales and growth will need to quickly adapt their strategies if it vanishes in a few months. Some may lack the resources to pivot effectively amid the uncertainty of last-minute legal maneuvering to block the ban from taking effect .


The TikTok ban was signed by President Joe Biden in April 2024.
TikTok creators rally at the Capitol as the House prepares to vote on legislation to ban the app. (Screenshot from C-SPAN)

4. You might lose your mind


For many millions, TikTok has become a ingrained habit for passing time and seeking entertainment. Abruptly losing this outlet could negatively impact some users' mental well-being as they struggle to fill the void.


According to a Statista survey in April and May 2023, 73.5% of U.S. users said they felt TikTok was addictive. So it could be a giant science experiment if millions of self-described "addicts" are forced to go "cold turkey."


5. You might lose a bit of your free speech


Free internet advocacy groups argue banning TikTok violates First Amendment rights and sets a chilling precedent of censorship. The public expectations about online speech freedoms may be impacted, as well.


"The TikTok Ban imposes an unprecedented prior restraint on free speech, silencing countless voices, while also discriminating on content and viewpoint," a coalition of 13 civil rights and racial justice groups argued in a court filing on June 27.


In the end, while the national security rationale seems convincing to lawmakers, the TikTok ban will likely prove highly disruptive to users, creators, businesses and the economy at large. And for the app's ardent fans? There's little they can do but brace for impact and life without their beloved TikTok.


 

Read the complete three-part series

 
 
 
 


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