This may not be true for long.
On Friday evening, President Donald Trump said he would ban the popular short video app from operating in the United States. The Trump administration had previously said it was considering a ban amid heightened tensions between the United States and China. (TikTok, for its part, says it’s not going anywhere.)
Since the 2016 U.S. election, there has been a growing consensus on Capitol Hill that Silicon Valley needs to be brought under control, with Democrats raising concerns about the market power of larger corporations and loopholes in content moderation and Republicans focusing on a perception of conservative anti-bias on platforms.
Despite all the controversy over TikTok’s connections to China through its parent company, ByteDance, which is based in Beijing, the video app may be the only social media service in recent years that poses a real risk to consumers. larger platforms that have long dominated space. .
In no time, TikTok has amassed some 100 million users in the United States, many of whom are part of a younger demographic coveted by advertisers and tech companies. He spawned a new generation of social media stars, viral memes, and made an impact on popular culture.
As a sign of the competitive threat posed by TikTok, Facebook and Google have attempted to clone features of the app. In June, Google-owned YouTube began testing a 15-second video feature, similar to TikTok. And last month, Instagram, owned by Facebook, announced that its TikTok knockoff was going to go global.
TikTok nodded at some of these threats in remarks ahead of this week’s antitrust hearing.
“To those who want to launch competitive products, we say implement it. Facebook is even launching another copier product, Reels (linked to Instagram), after their other copier Lasso quickly failed, ”Kevin Mayer, US CEO recently hired by TikTok, wrote in a blog post. “But let’s focus our energies on fair and open competition in the service of our consumers, rather than the slanderous attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to end our very presence in the United States. ”
Assuming the Trump administration’s ban goes ahead, that will mean less competition in a market already criticized for having too little. And the same social media companies that Trump previously criticized and went after with an executive order, including Facebook and Twitter (, may end up stronger for this. That said, a president banning an extremely popular app would certainly warn the ever more powerful tech industry. )
Even though the app isn’t banned in the United States, there is a chance it will be sold and the current suitor mentioned is Microsoft – yet another Big Tech company.