TikTok ban looms: Brace for the impending digital iron curtain

Author: Steffen Meyer, Mobile Marketing Content Specialist

If TikTok were to livestream a show focused on discussions about the potential ban of the popular social media app, it would undoubtedly captivate the attention of the digital marketing world. According to Capterra, an overwhelming 82 percent of marketers express their belief that a TikTok ban in the United States would significantly or moderately affect their company’s ability to achieve their social media marketing or advertising goals.

And this isn’t unlikely.

India has already banned TikTok’s since 2020, and in recent months, universities and government institutions around the world prohibit the app from being installed on employee phones. Notably, in the United States, the CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, faced intense questioning from the House Energy and Commerce Committee during a five-hour hearing, reflecting the intricate interplay of laws and politics surrounding the possibility of a TikTok ban in the country.

Understand the consequences of a potential TikTok ban

Authorities fear the Chinese government uses TikTok to gather information from its users. 

While most of the Western World seems to be fine with Meta and Google doing the same for capitalist gains (except in France, where Netflix, Instagram and other recreational apps were banned from government phones, too), people are way more skeptical to feed this information to the rising authoritarian superpower China.

TikTok’s representatives try to convince policy-makers and officials that there is nothing to worry by launching expensive campaigns, and free speech advocates in the US are already mobilizing, invoking the First Amendment as their rallying cry.

It’s unclear how this will play out, including the specifics of a potential ban in the US. However, it is worth considering that a ban in the US could establish a precedent within the Western world, potentially leading to additional bans, such as in the European Union, which is usually the front runner to regulate Big Tech.

Since China already blocks Western social media apps like Facebook or Instagram, the social media world could become even more divided. A digital iron curtain may manifest. 

And marketers already started prepping.

Prepare yourself for a digital iron curtain

TikTok, which topped one billion monthly users in 2021, plays a vital role for many digital marketing strategies today and helps small businesses or app creators to reach mass audiences and boost sales. We have published informative blog articles on becoming a TikTok marketing pro and how to employ storytelling techniques for enhanced performance. 

According to the Capterra survey, 65% of marketers say they would develop a new social media strategy altogether if TikTok were banned in the US, and according to reports by The Insider, agencies are already drafting strategies for a No-TikTok-US by evaluating how other channels can be employed and how budgets might be shifted.

While the foundations of liberal democracies make a ban less likely, we’ve seen often enough what’s possible when a global crisis hits. Therefore, it is wise to have a contingency plan in place.

To assist you, we offer our Marketing Master Map as a complimentary resource for free. It allows you to assess how TikTok aligns with your overall digital marketing strategy and explore potential replacements, if necessary. Additionally, our consultants are available for further guidance through a chat session.

By taking these proactive steps, you will be well-prepared should the hypothetical digital iron curtain descend.

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