Silenced Screens: The Case for Concern over the TikTok Ban

Silenced Screens: The Case for Concern over the TikTok Ban

My LinkedIn feed is filled with people that say they don't care about the TikTok ban. 

TikTok says it will challenge in court an unconstitutional law that could result in it being sold or banned in the United States. (1) View statement from TikTok's CEO Shou Chew

I don't see why TikTok is even a thing - they say.

Marketers will just go to other platforms - they say.

Don't complain, just repurpose to YouTube Shorts - they say. 

We need to protect our citizens - they say. 

But maybe there's more behind "what they say". 

When you give these opinions did you ever stop to consider maybe TikTok isn't for you and your viewpoints? 

Maybe it's a home for those that are typically silenced, moderated or hidden on other platforms. 

I've worked in Social Media for 15+ years.

I've been a TikTok Creator for 3+ years.

And in that time I've never experience a more unique, reciprocal and nuanced social community like TikTok. And it's different because: 

TikTok is a Platform that is most Heavily Dominated by Women.

In fact it's one of the only social platforms where women outpace men. 54% of creators are women. And the largest demographic of users is women 18-24 (24%). And the smallest user group male 55+ (1.7%). (2)

TikTok is a platform where Free Speech is Encouraged and Rewarded.

It's also the platform which has openly allowed creators to discuss societal issues, organize boycotts, spearhead movements and critique governments and discuss foreign policies.

TikTok has become a Primary News Source.

It's a place where Gen Z and Millennials go for unbiased news. Trust in mainstream media is at an all time low and younger generations are turning to TikTok as a place to get first hand accounts and unedited perspectives to inform their opinions. There are many freelance journalists and independent media outlets on there that I personally follow for my news as someone that cut cable TV a decade ago. (3-5)

TikTok is a Platform which has Propelled the Creator Economy. 

There's never ending content teaching people how to leave their 9-5 corporate jobs and monetize their platform. Here individuals can monetize their content through various means: brand partnerships, sponsored content, and affiliate marketing. It's created new jobs and democratized economic opportunity. 

TikTok is a Platform which has Supported Small Business.

Many brands which struggle with organic reach on others can gain considerable organic traction on TikTok as their algorithm has a higher viewer content relevancy score. It's created a more even playing field for smaller brands to compete with those with large ad budgets. 7M businesses in the US alone use TikTok to build their brand and drive sales (6). 

The platform has contributed $24B to the US economy and more than 224,000 US jobs. (6) 40% of SMBs say TikTok is critical to their businesses' existence (6).

Take me for example I post regularly on LinkedInInstagram and TikTok and I think the fact I have an 18K following on one and 400 and 200 following on the others speaks for itself. Last year alone I generated nearly 200K worth of free media exposure via TikTok. 

TikTok is a Platform that has Democratized the Music Industry. 

In an industry dominated by label connections, TikTok has become a disruptor and powerhouse for music discovery and promotion. Unknown artists without large marketing budgets have skyrocketed to fame by going viral on TikTok, leading to increased streams and downloads on music platforms. My Apple Music playlists have never been so diversified because of this platform. 

TikTok has Stimulated App Development and Innovation.

The success of TikTok has inspired a wave of app developers and entrepreneurs to create similar platforms or innovative features. This has led to a vibrant ecosystem of apps and tools designed to enhance the TikTok experience, creating opportunities for developers and tech professionals.

Why is it the only platform called into question?

And if it is really concern for US citizens private information why isn't there a push to have laws enacted across all social platforms and applications instead of just one. 

I think as citizens, marketers and entrepreneurs before we speak in support of the TikTok Ban, we need to ask more questions on just why our screens are being silenced. 

SOURCES

1. https://www.shopify.com/ca/blog/tiktok-statistics

2. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/what-happens-now-that-us-tiktok-bill-has-been-passed-2024-04-24/

3. https://www.axios.com/2024/02/16/tiktok-news-gen-z-social-media#

4. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13133735/gen-z-tik-tok-bbc-research-media-habits.html

5. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/technology/gen-z-tiktok-search-engine.html

6. https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/tiktok-economic-impact-report-2024-smb

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