The Impact of the TikTok Ban on Creators and Influencers After The Law Got Signed By Biden

Ophelia Nichols, also known as “shoelover99” on TikTok, is one of many online creators and influencers whose jobs suddenly face uncertainty.

Nichols, who lives in Alabama, has over 12.5 million followers on TikTok. She uses the app to share lifestyle content and rant in her Southern accent. Her posts get millions of views, and she earns most of her money from partnerships with brands like Home Chef.

But now, with recent actions in Washington, D.C., Nichols isn’t sure what will happen next.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed a bill that requires TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app. If ByteDance doesn’t sell, TikTok could be banned in the U.S. The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday, along with a package to send aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan.

“TikTok helps small businesses and creators connect with their community,” Nichols told CNBC before the bill was signed. “It gives everyone a chance to provide for their family like never before. It’s changed people’s lives.”

TikTok connects small businesses and creators, says Nichols, affecting 224,000 jobs in 2023. (Credits: The List)

A ban could take years because TikTok plans to challenge it in court. But for now, there’s a lot of uncertainty.

According to a study by Oxford Economics, small and medium-sized businesses on TikTok supported 224,000 jobs in 2023. These businesses made nearly $15 billion in revenue and added $24.2 billion to the U.S. economy that year.

Nichols and other TikTok creators went to the Capitol to protest a possible ban. She wanted to tell lawmakers how she uses the app for her business. TikTok didn’t tell her to join the protest.

“You’re taking away our First Amendment rights,” Nichols said. “People don’t understand. This is a community. It’s a family. Whatever it is that you enjoy or that makes you smile, you will find someone else on the app that loves that too.”

Ban on TikTok
March found that almost half of the people supported a ban or a sale, while just over 30% opposed it. (Credits: AP Photo)

A CNBC survey from March found that almost half of the people supported a ban or a sale, while just over 30% opposed it.

On TikTok, there are over 585,000 posts against the ban, mostly under #KeepTikTok and #SaveTikTok. Many people share how TikTok entertains them, while others say it’s important for their jobs.

ByteDance spent $7 million to oppose the ban, using videos from TikTok’s CEO and in-app messages asking users to contact their senators.

After Biden signed the bill, TikTok said it’s unconstitutional and will fight it in court.

“We believe the facts and the law are clearly on our side, and we will ultimately prevail,” the company said. “This ban would hurt seven million businesses and silence 170 million Americans.”

Lawmakers say TikTok is a threat to national security because the Chinese government could spy on American users and spread false information.

TikTok Ban: Concerns of Creators and Influencers

Sen. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., explained on CNBC’s “Last Call” that the new legislation doesn’t ban TikTok, but it requires TikTok to separate from ByteDance.

“You can still use the platform, you can still move forward,” Mullin said. “But the Chinese Communist Party uses ByteDance’s algorithm and servers for their propaganda.”

TikTok vows to fight unconstitutional measure.
ByteDance opposes ban with $7 million campaign, TikTok vows to fight unconstitutional measure.

TikTok creators and influencers, far from the political scene, have different worries.

Many find it hard to reach the same audience on other platforms. They say each platform has its audience and TikTok’s algorithm helps videos get seen by more people.

“People say, ‘If TikTok shuts down, they’ll follow you on Meta,’ but that’s not true,” said V Spehar, host of “Under the Desk News,” with over 3 million TikTok followers. “Otherwise, we would.”

TikTok offers ways to earn money, like its Creativity Program and brand partnerships. Competing platforms like YouTube Shorts offer revenue sharing, but it’s less than on longer videos.

“The culture of each platform is different,” said Spehar. “It’s hard to break into YouTube because it’s so crowded.”

It’s tough on other platforms too. Meta stopped paying short-form video creators on Instagram and Facebook last year. Plastic surgeon Tony Youn, with 8.4 million TikTok followers, said finding a big audience is hard.

“I’ve diversified because as a business person, you have to,” Youn said. “But not everyone can do that.”

Youn worries about smaller creators if TikTok gets banned.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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