How a TikTok ban could impact small businesses and creators

By Erica Remboske

The US House of Representatives voted on March 13 to approve a bill to ban TikTok in the country in six months unless they sell the platform to non-Chinese management, according to The New York Times. The bill is now going to the Senate.

According to the Washington Post, there was talk about banning the social media platform TikTok in 2020. Former President Donald Trump was the first president to try to put a stop to the app, but the House did not approve of the bill. Now, in 2024, President Joe Biden has successfully gotten enough votes to do something about the app.

The US government believes the Chinese government can gain access to anyone’s information whenever they want to. According to the Associated Press, this would essentially mean that US citizens would have their data on the risk of being stolen. This is a threat to US security.

It is evident that the bill has a high-disagreeing rate as there is a huge effect on the small businesses and the creators within the app. Many of those creators and small business owners are sharing their thoughts and opinions on the possible ban.

NBC News stated that JT Laybourne, who is a creator on the app, is “disgusted” that the lawmakers were actually making fun of TikTok and the creators on it just because small businesses rely on the app.

Capterra conducted a study on TikTok and TikTok Shop in January of 2023. The research that they conducted showed that “77% of [small businesses] on TikTok say sales attributable to TikTok have increased in the past year, with 23% reporting a significant increase.”

Many small businesses lean on TikTok Shop to bring in customers. These businesses often get the most attention and sales through the app.

TikTok Shop allows small business owners to pick their own prices, create short videos, have a showcase and even create live streams under their business name to promote their products. Their media can reach people from all over the world in a small amount of time, making it easier for their businesses to grow.

Katy Kahn, a social media influencer on TikTok, told CBS News that she relies on the extra money she makes on the app from being a creator. Kahn makes money by posting videos about sports, claiming it is aimed at those who don’t like sports but love the drama. She created a community on TikTok and is afraid that the community will not follow her on other social media platforms. TikTok is essentially her community’s home.

According to USAToday, there are a few more steps that need to be taken before the bill successfully gets passed and put completely into effect. If the Senate passes the bill, it will go to President Biden who would then have to sign it. Although, even though the Senate can pass the bill, TikTok can state that it goes against freedom of speech and fights against it. People who use TikTok tend to use the app to speak freely and to make a living. This can make the government go against the amendment to interfere with what is being said and done on the platform.

Overall, small businesses and creators rely on TikTok to gain income. A lot of the small businesses you will find on TikTok strictly only have customers on that social media platform and would have to move everything over to another, such as Instagram. Banning the app would cause chaos for those who gain income from the app as they would lose money and lose their customers.

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