President of USA Donald Trump decided to ban the popular short-form video application TikTok from functioning in the US, denying a deal for Microsoft to purchase the app from its parent company.
Trump told reports about his plans to ban TikTok from the US. He further said that he could use an executive order or emergency economic power.
Earlier last week, people working on the issue within the President’s administration were expecting that the President would sign an order to force the Chinese company, ByteDance, the owner of the social media platform, to sell its operations to another company familiar with similar matters. The move to ban the app was aimed at resolving the concerns of the policymakers regarding the Chinese-owned TikTok may be a security risk to the country, as stated by CNN.
Impact of Ban on Small Businesses – A Story of Jay’s Fresh Pressed Lemonade
After the announcement of the ban, some business owners are looking to discover new methods to promote their products and services. Javier and Cindy Juarez have owned Jay’s Fresh Pressed Lemonade from the last five years, but since the coronavirus pandemic, the business went downhill.
Javier got laid off during the pandemic, and the family depended on the business. Their original videos on the platform helped boom their business. They thought to target the customers around the area of Fresno, but they got customers out of the area too.
As the application is used for acting skits, lip-syncing, and dancing, owners of many small businesses used it to take benefits to sell their products at the time of pandemic spread.
According to the KMPH, the app has helped Jay’s double their income, and they were grateful for that. The business owners also say that they will be using this app until it’s no longer available, but they hope that people at least start following their Facebook page so that they can connect with their customers again.
FashioNation’s Story of Growth through TikTok
Like most of the small businesses, FashionNation also faces struggles during the pandemic. The South Broadway shoe and clothing store was shut down for almost 62 days; during that time, the property owners mercifully cut the property’s rent. When the business reopened, eventually, customers returned to the shop, but sales were still low. Then, some customers came to the shop with their smartphones, shoot some videos on TikTok, and the posts went viral.
The 21 years old girl, Sydney Italiano, the daughter of store owner Pam and Paul Italiano, decided to create a short TikTok documentary regarding the origin story of the shop. The story goes like this: Paul and Pam discovered FashionNation in the year 1987, attempting to make a safe place for goths, punks, and other alternatives so that kids safely explore their recognition via clothes. Over the past few years, the store became a rock star magnet until the novel coronavirus hit. And, the video, which was posted on 24 July, had more than 300,000 views.
Sydney Italiano was a hit with only one video. She starts posting more videos, in which she, along with her family mug for the camera, show off their store’s clothes, and chat with the crowd.
In one video, Paul and Pam, two veteran rockers, stand in the background, and Sydney invites customers to the shop. In a few videos, She provided a 10% discount to the TikTok followers and tours the customers through their impressive collection of purses, Dr. Martens, concert outfits, and posters.
Currently, Sydney says that the store is close to 100,000 followers and counting and has gained over a million views.
TikTok’s Journey in the US
ByteDance has been implementing changes to its corporate structure and looking into selling majority stakes in TikTok.
As per the New York Times, Microsoft talks of acquiring TikTok, citing people with the discussions. Trump has firmly denied the potential spin-off deal idea, satisfying the concern of national security.
The application gained popularity in the US and western countries and has become the first Chinese social media platform that gained massive popularity with the users outside of the home country. In the first quarter of this year, the app received more than 315 million downloads.
The cybersecurity experts said that TikTok’s potential risk to national security is highly theoretical, and there is no proof to suggest that the Chinese intelligence compromised TikTok’s user data.
TikTok’s Move for Small Businesses
TikTok recently launched a self-service ad platform for small businesses. The latest ad platform allows companies to buy ads without going through the team of sales ads. The platform was launched to help small enterprises push ads on the app, but there may be some problems surrounding the ban on TikTok in the United States, proposed by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
While Pompeo’s call for the ban didn’t take into account the latest ad platform, it may just fuel people supporting the ban. Pompeo suggested banning the app because it originated from China and may sell useful user information to the Chinese government.
According to Forbes, TikTok has responded to Pompeo’s call stating that his worries were unfounded. He said an American CEO leads the platform with several employees and critical leaders across security, safety, policy, and product policy in the United States. TikTok has no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience for the users. They have not provided any information to the Chinese government, and they will not do so even if asked.
However, with the new ad platform, the problems may double. Firstly, what if the ads contain questionable content or misinformation. Secondly, ad buyers may have worries that the ads may appear around objectionable content created by users on the platform. Like other social media sites, TikTok uses human and technology moderators, and the company states that they are committed to shielding their ads from appearing around objectionable content. Moreover, the app’s moderators also continuously work towards taking down the content that goes against community guidelines.
To help the local businesses, the application is offering $100 million in ad credits internationally. Small businesses can apply for these credits as the pandemic has heavily impacted them. These credits are also available for the US’s small businesses as the ban been proposed and has not been implemented.