Amid US-China Tussle, TikTok Content Creators Worry About Bread And Butter If App Ban Succeeds

In the wake of a bill passed by the House of Representatives, TikTok content creators in the U.S. are voicing fears that a possible prohibition on the app could adversely impact their earnings and restrict freedom of speech.

What Happened: The Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act was enacted on Mar. 13. The legislation calls for ByteDance, the Chinese tech firm that owns TikTok, to divest from the app or risk a potential ban in the US. The bill is now on its way to the Senate.

Numerous influencers on TikTok generate income through brand collaborations, promoting their businesses, and directly monetizing their content, CNBC reported on Thursday. Some influencers are concerned they will lose a substantial income source if the ban is enacted.

Emily Swift, who operates Darkslide Film Lab in Bridgeport, Connecticut, uses TikTok to share videos of her film development process. With 67,000 followers, she earns up to an additional $6,000 per month.

Swift expressed, “TikTok has allowed my business to keep our doors open, and the ban threatens my ability to continue to do so.”

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Other influencers, such as Hannah Williams, who operates Salary Transparent Street, are preparing for the shift. Williams has expanded to other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. She launched her company on TikTok, where she has 1.3 million followers.

Many prominent TikTok stars have been diversifying their income streams as well. Charli D’Amelio, who has 152 million followers, earned $17.5 million in 2023 from her clothing brand, Hulu show, and partnerships with brands like Dunkin’.

For many creators, a ban would mean audiences would lose access to a crucial source of information. Brandon Edelman, a full-time content creator, said, “I think TikTok has really become Gen Z’s version of Google.”

Williams believes the ban “sets a really dangerous precedent to freedom of information and freedom of speech.” Some legal experts have agreed.

Why It Matters: TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew warned that a U.S. ban on the social media platform could have catastrophic consequences for creators and small businesses.

Chinese e-commerce vendors also expressed concern over stricter enforcement of regulations by the U.S. version of TikTok, causing unease among Chinese sellers who consider the platform an alternative to

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Image by Kaspars Grinvalds via Shutterstock

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