For some Americans, TikTok is a fun and engaging way to while away the time with their friends online, while for businesses it is a powerful economic engine. So Washington’s proposed ban on the app has caused widespread concern in the United States.
Photographer and filmmaker Miya Omori, a young student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, is a new user who has already racked up 650,600 likes on TikTok and gained 28,400 followers so far. She said that she initially started using the app as a fun way of connecting with friends, but it soon turned into a good way to expand her brand and collaborate with other artists.
“Banning the app would definitely hurt my business as well as others,” Omori said. “The app is a great way to get started and keep ideas fresh, creative and trending. I think it’s one of the most efficient ways to start and maintain a brand.”
Benn Weibe, curator and director of a series of Sustainable Development Goal film festivals hosted around the world in collaboration with the United Nations, agreed. He is also the Marketing/Licensing Producer for Danish game company Sybo.
He told the media that when Sybo launched Subway Surfers on TikTok, it shot up to 500,000 followers in six months and helped push the #subwaysurfers hashtag to a staggering 4 billion eyeballs worldwide. “We were seeing a direct impact on our game in sync with our TikTok numbers that far outweighs the engagement we get on YouTube,” he said.
The U.S. market accounts for almost 50 percent of their business, so he’s already seeing negative impact from the proposed ban. On Aug. 6, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning U.S. transactions with TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance after 45 days, citing national security concerns.
On Aug. 14, Trump signed another executive order that forces ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business within 90 days. TikTok had filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, challenging the legality and constitutionality of the Aug. 6 executive order, and arguing that there is no credible evidence to back up Trump’s national security claims.
On Sept. 27, Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided to halt the Trump administration’s ban. However, the fate of the popular app is still pending and many business insiders said they had felt the negative impacts. “Already in the last weeks, even before the ban is in place, there has been a massive dip, likely from people already anticipating a ban and moving on,” Weibe told the media.
Kenny Kubernick, published author, historian and musicologist living in Los Angeles, also stressed the economic hardship that will result from the ban. “(It) caused tremendous fear and hardship for many Americans and American-based businesses, not just Chinese businesses,” Kubernick said.
“Attacking Chinese social media platforms that enjoy wide support in the United States is entirely counter-productive to trade relations with China and is harmful to Americans,” an international film producer, who chose to remain anonymous, told the media. Andre Morgan, another successful Hollywood producer, said that using the national security card was “an act of desperation.”