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  • Helena Kallas

Uncertain Horizons: TikTok ban in the US and the impact on content creators livelihoods

Among the variety of social media platforms, one platform has captured the hearts of millions: TikTok. From dance challenges to makeup tutorials, this app has become a daily need in the lives of many, especially for the new generation. However, due to recent events, TikTok's future is now uncertain, leaving its users disappointed.

Recently, the House of Representatives passed a legislation that could force TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to either sell the app or face a ban in the United States. While the Senate still needs to approve this decision, the consequences are significant, especially for the individuals who have built their careers on the platform. With over 170 million American users, TikTok has become more than just a social media platform, but a marketplace, a creative corner, and a source of income for countless content creators. 

The founders of the cosmetic company Love & Pebble, Lynda Truong, and Paul Tran, expressed their concerns about the possible probation. With nearly 140,000 followers, they significantly rely on TikTok for business, stating that 95% of their sales are tied to the platform. Tran expressed, “A ban on TikTok would be devastating.” Their feelings ailing with the concerns of several influencers who fear losing their careers and the communities that they built.  

For many influencers, TikTok genuine interactions engagement are irreplaceable. Sophie Berner, founder of Conversationalist, a digital platform empowering Gen Z to have echo-chamber-breaking conversations through a talk show, emphasized the importance of TikTok for Generation Z, stating, “A lot of young people see the inherent danger when it comes to privacy and data concerns, but see an inherent good when it comes to TikTok.” Beren was quoted on ABC News Live. This sentiment represents how users feel about the platform, finding a balance between privacy concerns and the importance of creative expression. 

Ophelia Nichols, known as shoelover99 on TikTok, exemplifies this concept, highlighting the platform's ability to build relationships as well as spread positivity. She shared a touching story about how she walked a bride down the aisle after the bride reached out to her via TikTok. Nichols emphasized. “TikTok is a place for love and compassion.”

Despite the concerns raised by individuals, the debate around TikTok's future is still complex. While some senators argue that a ban is necessary to address national security risks associated with the app's Chinese ownership, others believe that such measures violate the First Amendment rights. The First Amendment, one of the primary principles of the United State Constitution, safeguards fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievance. The outcome of this debate will have a significant impact on both users and influencers. 

Even with TikTok's future being uncertain, one thing is clear: the platform has become more than a social media app, it is a community, a source of income, and a platform for creativity and connection. 


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