TikTok Ban & Your Brand: What You Should Know

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Senate on Tuesday followed the House of Representatives’ footsteps by passing a bill to force the sale of TikTok by its Chinese parent company, ByteDance otherwise a TikTok ban will take place in the United States. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on Wednesday, leaving many to wonder what comes next. 

The answer: Not much just yet, but the future is murky. Here’s what the measure and potential TikTok ban mean for consumers and brands alike. 


TikTok has up to a year to be sold by its China-based owner — or face a ban in the U.S., after the Senate passed a foreign aid bill Tuesday night. The potential ban would shut out 170 million users and impact small businesses. #news #tiktok

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Why the concern over TikTok? 

First, some context. The legislation was instigated due to national security concerns over the wildly popular app’s Chinese ties. Security experts and lawmakers believe the Chinese government could use the app to spread propaganda to the 170 million TikTok users in the U.S., and/or look to ByteDance to share sensitive information about those users. 

That said, TikTok maintains it protects U.S. user data through an alliance with Oracle, which blocks data from being accessed overseas. (See: Project Texas). 

Is there a TikTok ban right now?

The newly minted law gives ByteDance 9-12 months to sell to a new owner. No ban will take place before the 2024 presidential election. Legal challenges are expected, so this process could take years to settle and ultimately go down in history as just a big flex by the U.S. 

If TikTok is banned, existing users will no longer have access or be able to upload new content. The app would also not be available to download in app stores.

tiktok ban

There are a lot of implications surrounding a new law that would force a TikTok sale or ban it in the U.S. Credit: tashatuvango – stock.adobe.com

Who is in the running to take over TikTok? 

It’s unclear, but whoever buys TikTok (if we get to that point) is going to need some pretty deep pockets. While ByteDance only needs to sell off the U.S. portion of its TikTok business to satisfy the law, it’s predicted that segment could be worth tens of billions of dollars. 

Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai need not apply: tech giants Meta and Google would likely be struck down as potential buyers due to antitrust concerns. There is some chatter that former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wants to build a group of private equity firms and other investors to buy TikTok. 

So, what does a TikTok ban mean for my brand’s account? 

Keep an eye out for news of a potential TikTok sale, and brace for the possibility of a ban. You can be proactive about your content by downloading it for safekeeping and eventually repurposing it on a different platform, like Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and X, which has said it’s now a video-first channel

In the meantime, think about cultivating and owning your audience through other means, like through an email marketing strategy. With the potential for compromised user data and privacy concerns on social channels, it’s certainly not a bad time to invest in other aspects of owned media.  

Another thing to consider is that if TikTok is sold to an approved buyer, it may not come with all its parts – meaning the algorithm that has made the app so popular and addictive might not be part of the deal. And that could be just as effective at killing TikTok in the U.S. as banning it would be.