In a nutshell

  • U.S. lawmakers are debating a potential nationwide ban on TikTok due to concerns over national security and potential spying by the Chinese government.
  • Montana has already prohibited TikTok use within the state, with several other entities including the military, federal government, and some universities imposing restrictions.
  • We advise TikTok creators to diversify their online presence, connect with their community outside the app and consider alternative income streams in anticipation of a possible ban.

There’s talk of a nationwide ban on TikTok in the United States. The Chinese-owned video-sharing app has attracted millions of active American users. However, despite its popularity — or maybe because of it — U.S. lawmakers are beginning to see TikTok as a threat. Though there is still much controversy and debate over whether or not such a ban is constitutional, TikTok creators need to prepare for the possibility.

Is TikTok really getting banned?

We don’t know yet if TikTok will actually get banned in the United States. Proponents of a ban worry TikTok could give the Chinese government an easy way to spy on American citizens. Critics are concerned that an outright ban could stifle Americans’ free speech. Still, there is a real possibility that the app will get the boot.

Indeed, Montana has already banned TikTok from operating within the state. That means no one in Montana can legally use the app. Military and federal government officials are also banned from using the app, and some states have also banned TikTok use on government devices. Some universities have even restricted the use of the app on university Wi-Fi and computers.

Several bills have also been introduced that could lead to a TikTok ban. Currently up for debate, the RESTRICT Act would give U.S. officials the power to monitor, restrict and force out I.T. services and vendors with ties to designated foreign adversaries. That includes China. However, even if the RESTRICT Act is put into law, it only allows for the possibility of a ban. It doesn’t guarantee anything.

Another bill, the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act, specifically seeks to prevent TikTok and other apps from transferring U.S. user data to foreign persons affiliated with the Chinese government. The most aggressive option proposed, the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP ACT would allow Congress to immediately ban TikTok and any other Chinese-owned app.

How to prepare for a TikTok ban

If you’re a TikToker reading this, you may be getting worried. Unfortunately, your concerns are valid. But fortunately, there are things you can do to prepare. Let’s look at a few ways to safeguard your career as a creator in the face of a nationwide TikTok ban.

Expand your online presence

The first thing you can do to prepare for a nationwide TikTok ban is to start posting your content on platforms other than TikTok. And don’t wait. Already having your foot in the door of other platforms will make the transition much easier if TikTok is eventually banned.

We can compare this situation to when Vine shut down back in 2017. With Vine gone, many creators were forced to move to YouTube. Those who already had a subscriber base on YouTube had an easier time getting monetized — if they didn’t already meet the requirements.

You don’t have to give up on TikTok just yet. You can easily cross-post the videos you make for TikTok to YouTube Shorts, for instance. This way, if TikTok is banned, you have a platform and community on YouTube to fall back on. Plus, even if TikTok doesn’t get banned, you will still end up with an additional revenue stream from YouTube.

Connect with your community outside of TikTok

Another way to protect the investment you’ve put into TikTok is to connect with your community outside of the app. This could mean starting an email list, a Discord server or a dedicated Facebook group. In this case, an email list can be a great option. With email, your connection with fans doesn’t depend on a single social platform.

Get creative in thinking of ways your community can stay in touch without the central hub of TikTok. And remind your TikTok viewers to follow you on other platforms. This will ensure your fans know how to find you and your content if, for whatever reason, TikTok disappears.

Diversify your income streams

Finally, start thinking about how you can diversify your income streams and move away from relying soley on revenue from TikTok. Getting monetized on other platforms like YouTube Shorts is one way to add variety to your income. However, you can also consider ways to let fans support you more directly. For instance, you could start a Patreon to allow viewers to support you on a monthly basis or per video. You can also consider selling merch or other goods or services to reduce the potential impact of a TikTok ban on your bank account.

Get ready to say goodbye to TikTok

Though we don’t yet know the ultimate fate of TikTok in the U.S. just yet, it’s smart to prepare for a complete nationwide ban. It may never happen, but expanding your online presence, connecting with fans outside of TikTok and diversifying your income streams will only benefit your career as a creator in the long run.

Image courtesy asset: TikTok