It recently emerged that the US government is looking into banning TikTok in the US. This would prohibit US citizens from downloading the app. While some might agree with a TikTok ban, even going as far as signing petitions to prohibit the app, this can be devastating for the creators who’ve made a name for themselves on TikTok.
TLDR; Don’t rely on TikTok as your only method of communication with a growing audience. Diversify away from the app, so you won’t be affected if a TikTok ban is implemented.
Why Does The US Government Want To Ban TikTok?
TikTok is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. Because of the ties to the Chinese government, the US government is concerned that data from US citizens are being collected by the Chinese Communist Party. This data, they argue, can be detrimental to the safety and security of citizens. Companies like Wells Fargo and Amazon have already banned TikTok downloads from company-issued phones, and so has the US Army.
Should Users of TikTok be Concerned?
India recently implemented a TikTok ban. It is one of the countries with the most active users besides Brazil and the US.
India cited data breaches and data collection as the reason for the ban.
However, TikTok denies ever handing over any user data to the Chinese government; and is adamant that it doesn’t pose a cyber threat to users or the countries those users use the app in.
But, a controversial feature in the app, that enables TikTok to read your clipboard information, is raising eyebrows. According to iOS, the app reads your clipboard information once every second. This is alarming because many people copy and paste sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, work-related documents, and so on. Whatever you’ve copy and pasted on your iPhone is likely already in the hands of TikTok.
TikTok argues that this “feature” is there to block spam, but it happens even when users aren’t using the app. So… that’s quite concerning.
Most of TikTok’s users in the US are teens, so privacy may not be at the forefront of their security concerns. However, it is a good idea to understand why the government wants to ban TikTok and whether it’s something you agree with. Because the data we have on our phones reveals more about us and our environment than we care to believe, and in the wrong hands can be used against us in ways we can only imagine.
What Will A TikTok Ban Mean For Creators?
The greatest impact a TikTok ban would have is that it would cause the TikTok community to disintegrate. For any creator on the app, that would mean that their community of followers would disintegrate along with the app.
TikTok’s algorithm is quite robust and therefore has allowed so many new and novice creators to gain fame – within and outside the app. TikTok is responsible for launching many of the breakout creators of 2019 and 2020 and reviving some older creators’ careers. So, for creators the news of a TikTok ban is alarming.
However, as a creator, the best thing you can do is to begin diversifying your content. This way, you aren’t relying solely on TikTok as a way to connect to your audience.
This isn’t only relevant if TikTok is banned, but it’s also necessary in case the app shutters or decides to retract from US markets.
Many popular apps like Vine and Myspace – which were once extremely popular – are now defunct. The creators on those platforms either faded into obscurity or had to reemerge on other platforms. Instead of waiting to see what could happen to TikTok, use the audience you’ve built on TikTok to produce a long term career on another platform. You can leverage your audience to get better mainstream gigs, launch business and brands, start a successful YouTube or Instagram career, or pursue other ambitions.
I think the takeaway here is, whether or not a TikTok ban comes into effect, you should remember not to put your eggs in one basket, that basket could be banned and take all your eggs with it.