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TikTok Goes on the Offensive to Garner Support from TikTok Influencers
Kathleen Greenler Sexton --- Subscription Expert Kathleen Greenler Sexton --- Subscription Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Boston, MA
Thursday, March 23, 2023


TikTok has been in the headlines virtually every day this month. Aside from the threat of a ban from the Biden administration and possible restrictions by a proposed RESTRICT Act, the latest news is that TikTok is going on the offensive. TikTok is reportedly trying to assure advertisers that they won’t be banned, and the short-form video platform is trying to get TikTok influencers and other high-profile users on side to prevent a ban, according to Social Media Today and The Information.

Part of the plan is to get dozens of influencers to Washington, D.C. this week to fight off a forced sale of the company, says Politico. The influencers, whose travel costs are being covered by TikTok, are reportedly planning a press conference on Wednesday (March 22) on Capitol Hill.

“Lawmakers in Washington debating TikTok should hear firsthand from people whose lives would be directly affected by their decisions,” said TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown, as reported by Politico. “We look forward to welcoming our creators to our nation’s capital, helping them make their voices heard, and continuing to drive meaningful impact in their lives and for their communities.”

In addition to this offensive move, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday. Prior to testifying, the CEO posted a 1+ minute video to TikTok to thank their 150 million American users, including 5 million U.S. businesses.

After citing the app’s user statistics, Chew said, “This comes at a pivotal moment for us. Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok. Now this could take TikTok away from all 150 million of you. I’ll be testifying before Congress later this week to share all that we’re doing to protect Americans using the app and deliver on our mission to inspire creativity and to bring joy.”

He then asked viewers to post their comments about what they want their elected representatives to know what they love about TikTok. As of 5:02 p.m. yesterday, his video received 87.4K comments. Here is a sampling:

Common themes were that TikTok brings people joy, helps them learn new things, creates new career opportunities and keeps people connected to each other.

The key issue is whether or not TikTok is sharing U.S. consumer data with the Chinese government. As we noted last week, the concern is China’s national security law that requires companies to give them access to consumer data if requested. That’s why the Biden administration threatened to ban TikTok if ByteDance doesn’t sell their stake in the video-sharing app.

In related news, Congress – both the House and the Senate – have proposed legislation that would give U.S. agencies some broad oversight on apps that were owned by countries including China, Russian, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba. Also, the FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating ByteDance’s use of TikTok to spy on journalists, reports Forbes.

Insider Take

TikTok is starting to feel like Twitter with daily headlines, but the stakes are much higher here. National security. This feels particularly important in a time where international politics are more divisive, we have a presidential election in 2024, the war in Ukraine and Russia continues, and our global economy is uncertain. National security should take precedence, of course, but from a subscription standpoint, a ban or restrictions could be creators at risk. Spying on journalists is concerning on a whole other level. We’ll be watching on the sidelines as this plays out.

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