Making Sense of the TikTok “Ban”

Everyone is talking about the potential TikTok Ban and what it means for the future of the platform. The following is a breakdown of exactly what has happened (we will continue to update this page in real time), as well as Linqia’s recommendations for how brands should be reacting to the situation. 

What happened?

  1. In March, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, to sell TikTok to US ownership. That bill then went to the Senate where it stalled.
  2. After more than a month of inaction, the House added the bill into the broader Ukraine/Israel aid package — a top US priority — to fast-track and increase the likelihood of the bill passing.
  3. Within a week, the bill was passed by the Senate on Tuesday April 23rd
  4. The following day, April 24, 2024, President Biden signed the bill into law.

What does the Bill state?

  1. The bill mandates that ByteDance sell TikTOk to a US-owned entity within 270 days (deadline: January 19th, 2025). 
  2. This timeframe can be extended by 90 days if progress towards a sale is demonstrated.
  3. Failure to comply would result in TikTok’s removal from app stores and internet hosting services in the US.

What will happen next?

  1. Legal Battle Expected: TikTok has expressed strong opposition to the bill and is going to pursue legal action, citing potential violations of First Amendment rights. This could lead to a prolonged court battle that may delay or even overturn the bill.
  2. Three possible scenarios: 
    1. The courts deem the bill unconstitutional and TikTok continues to operate as is
    2. The courts uphold the bill and Bytedance does in fact sell TikTok to a US entity
    3. The courts uphold the bill and Bytdance refuses to sell TikTok and the US moves to enforce the ban after January 19th, 2025.

How should brands react?

We are very far off from any type of real change to TikTok, so at this point Linqia is recommending brands continue with business as usual. The earliest any change would take place is January of next year, and the court battle will likely extend that deadline or strike down the bill altogether.   

Linqia continues to recommend a cross platform strategy for our partners to never be overly reliant on a single platform, TikTok or otherwise. And with the emergence of other short form video options like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts we will continue to have contingency plans for where content can live and media dollars can shift to.  

April did not disappoint in the world of influencer marketing and the creator economy.