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How a TikTok ban would transform culture

Talks of a TikTok ban have recently re-emerged following TikTok boss Shou Zi Chew’s scrutinising of Capitol Hill by US Lawmakers. But if a ban was to come to fruition, what would it mean for the entertainment industry, creators and culture? 


The Chair of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Cathy Rodgers, has called for the app to be banned over concerns due to data privacy. Many of the concerns and questions at the hearing came from questioning centring around TikTok’s China-based owner ByteDance. Rodgers went on to call TikTok a “weapon of the Chinese Communist Party.” Regardless of TikTok’s allegiance or background, its impact worldwide is unavoidable. TikTok is available in over 150 countries, with over 1 billion users therefore, its reach is undeniable. A total TikTok ban would undoubtedly shake the way many people consume media. 


Death of small creators


TikTok’s format of short snippet videos and ‘for you page’ lends itself to the rather ‘easier’ chance of attracting a following than the likes of YouTube – where one must go out and search for content rather than have it straight provided. This has led to the birth of numerous small creators who are reliant on the regular appearance of their audiences ‘for you page,’ should this be removed, so would their sole platform. 


A radical shift in the music industry


TikTok content began in its earliest form as dance content. We saw with the rise of Charli D’Amelio, who has now amassed a following outside TikTok, what this content can provide for creators. Equally with the dance, came the music. Doja Cat had her career accelerated by the use of TikTok with her music regularly circulating as ‘sounds.’ Now, we see TikTok star Chris Olsen and singer Meghan Trainor in a clear partnership, and whether planned, paid or spontaneous, the partnership is helping the resurgence of Trainor’s music career. Since her TikTok wave, Trainor has released the new song ‘Mother’ where she cast Kris Jenner in the video, leading to herself, Kris, and Chris all making TikTok content together.


A quick replacement 


Given TikTok’s sensational success, other brands would be foolish not to capitalise off a potential gap in the market. We have already witnessed similar formatted and styled applications to TikTok emerge, with Instagram introducing its ‘reels’ section, and YouTube introducing ‘YouTube Shorts.’ Whilst neither has managed to obtain anything close to the stranglehold TikTok has on this concept, should TikTok be banned, don’t be surprised to see a rise in ‘reels’ or ‘YouTube Shorts’ or even a brand-new application. 


A re-emergence of longer-form content 


As stated, priorly, TikTok is famous for its shorter content. These shorter snippets have helped to breed a culture of shorter content, where longer form context is no longer desired. Many YouTube stars are flocking to TikTok or no longer using YouTube as their sole focus, as the viewership isn’t there. In prior history, we saw shorter content thrive under ‘Vine’ and when the app was closed down, YouTube thrived. If TikTok was to face a ban, would we witness history repeating itself?  


Editorial Credit: Sushmita Regmi


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