Early in August, President Trump issued an executive order banning Tik Tok, giving users and businesses 90 days to prepare. The executive order has left many people asking “What does a Tik Tok ban mean? Here’s everything you need to know, how you can prepare, and some Tik Tok alternatives to keep you creating fun videos for your followers.
What is Tik Tok?
Per Wikipedia, Tik Tok is a social media platform that first launched in 2016. Its primary purpose is for its users – ages 13 and up – to create short music videos. The videos have also been known to feature users lip-syncing to comedy routines and dancing. Business of Apps reports that Tik Tok was downloaded 738 million times in 2019 with 46 million downloads from the U.S. alone. Hootsuite estimates that U.S. users spend 46 minutes per day on Tik Tok. The largest age group is 18-24 which is approximately 42% of U.S. users. 60% of all U.S. users are female. Clearly, if a Tik Tok ban goes into effect, a lot of people will be impacted by it.
How Is It Used By Businesses?
Businesses have jumped on the Tik Tok bandwagon as well, using the platform to engage their customers. Business News Daily reports four ways businesses have used Tik Tok to promote their brands.
- Infeed Content – short commercials that show up within your Tik Tok feed similar to how they appear on Instagram. Tik Tok requires these ads to be 9-15 seconds in length and they can be skipped over.
- Brand Takeovers – where one company can take over the app for a day. Hootsuite explains that when a brand takes over Tik Tok for a day, users will see a short video or gif for a company when they first open the app. The video or gif that appears is linked to a landing page for that business. Tik Tok only allows one company per day to do this and guarantees at least 5 million views.
- Hashtag challenges – listed as the most popular option, companies can create challenges for Tik Tok users to complete using a designated hashtag. For example, having users sing theme songs to movies or television shows using whatever hashtag is assigned.
- Branded Lenses – companies can create specific filters/lenses for users to use on Tik Tok.
While we don’t have a list of every business on Tik Tok, we can name a few. Hootsuite reports that businesses who use Tik Tok include: NFL, Universal Pictures, TurboTax, Pepsi, and Kroger.
Why It Might Be Banned
On August 6, 2020, the White House announced the executive order regarding the Tik Tok ban, citing national security concerns. According to the executive order, there are concerns over how user information is being collected by the app. It’s believed the information being collected by Tik Tok includes users’ location data as well as browsing and internet search histories. All of this means that China could collect information on federal employees and government contractors, potentially allowing China to commit corporate espionage.
Business Insider reports many government agencies such as TSA and the military issued a Tik Tok ban earlier this year, preventing the app from being installed and used on government devices. In case you’re curious as to how a government agency would use Tik Tok on an official government device, we can list the Army as one example. The Army used Tik Tok to help recruit soldiers prior to the ban.
At this point in time, the only action that could stop a Tik Tok ban is if a U.S. company purchases it, and all of the app’s ties to China are completely severed. CNBC was one of several news outlets to report on a deal between Microsoft and Tik Tok. The initial deadline for the Tik Tok ban to go into effect was originally mid-September. However, on August 14, 2020, The Verge, along with multiple other outlets, reported that President Trump extended the deadline, giving the social media platform until mid-November to sell to a U.S. company.
What The Tik Tok Ban Means?
While the fate of Tik Tok is up in the air, many people are wondering what will happen if the ban goes into full effect. As it turns out, if the Tik Tok ban does go through, the U.S. won’t be the first country to enforce it. CNN Business reported on the Tik Tok ban issued by India on June 29, 2020.
At the time of the Tik Tok ban, it’s estimated that India had over 200 million users, well over twice the number of users in the U.S. The app was removed from all app stores and while the app remained installed on all devices, when users in India attempted to open the app they were met with an error message that read, “complying with the Government of India’s directive.”
What You Can Do To Prepare?
Until it’s known for certain what’s going to happen with Tik Tok, it’s best that all users prepare for the worst-case scenario. We have a list of suggestions to help you in case the Tik Tok ban goes into effect.
- Download your videos from Tik Tok. We are very well aware that this option might not be feasible in particular if your videos are in the hundreds or higher. However, if you have a favorite video or series of videos, we recommend you download them. This allows you to use them later on other platforms.
- Claim your brand. Your brand can be the name of your business or your current Tik Tok username. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for other social media platforms and claim your brand/username now so if the Tik Tok ban goes into effect, your followers won’t have any problems finding you.
- Let your followers know where they can find you. Share the information to your Tik Tok account at least once per week.
- Use your Tik Tok profile photo on the new social media app. This will reassure your followers that they’ve found the correct account.
- Start sharing content to the new social media app. Even if it’s just a repeat of what’s on Tik Tok, it will help build followers in the new app as well as reassure your dedicated Tik Tok following that they’ve found your new account.
9 Alternatives to Tik Tok
We’ve scoured the internet looking for apps that are similar to Tik Tok. Some, you might already have on your mobile device. Here’s a list of alternatives to Tik Tok to keep your business going and your followers happy.
Launched in early August, the Reels feature was Instagram’s response to India’s Tik Tok ban. Shortly after launching in India, the Reels feature was made available to U.S. Instagram users as well. To access Reels, open Instagram, and swipe right – the same way you’d access the stories feature. At the bottom right side of the screen, you will see the option to select Reels. From there you can either record a video or you can upload a previously recorded video. The option to add music will appear on the left side of the screen.
While using Instagram Reels as a Tik Tok alternative makes sense for a lot of people, especially those users who have accounts on both platforms, it should be mentioned that while you can download the videos you record on Reels, Instagram will only allow you to do so without the music. This is very different from Tik Tok which allowed its users to download all the videos with the music clips so they could be shared with other platforms.
Dubsmash is very similar to Tik Tok in that it will allow you to record or upload videos to their platform. Users can add music, filters, stickers, and more. Users can also engage with their followers through direct messages. All videos can be downloaded from Dubsmash and reshared to other social media platforms.
If you love trends, you’ll love Triller! With Triller, users can create and share memories with their friends and followers. Triller is also great for starting and participating in trending hashtag challenges. Triller offers over 100 filters and allows users to collaborate with each other through group videos. All videos can be shared to Instagram and Facebook. Videos can also be shared through text messages and emails.
Self-described as “the most fun video editor app for creating awesome music video clips,” Funimate is the next Tik Tok alternative on our list. With Funimate, Tik Tok users can continue having the same lip-syncing fun they currently have if the ban goes into effect. Videos can also be cropped and music clips, emojis, and a variety of other special effects can be applied.
Not to be confused with ByteDance – the China-based company that owns Tik Tok, Byte is another option for Tik Tok lovers to consider. Hootsuite reports that Byte users can upload six-second videos and engage with other users. Unlike Tik Tok, Byte does not allow users to add music or special effects. However! Byte does allow its users to monetize their work.
Video Star is a bit different from the previous apps we’ve mentioned. According to Common Sense, it differs from Tik Tok because it does not allow its creators to record any audio. After recording video clips, users can add its licensed music to their work. Special effects can also be added.
With Likee, users can not only upload their own videos, but they can also search for and engage with viral videos. Likee reports having over 100 million users worldwide. Special effects with this app include celebrity face swap, face morph, the ability to change video backgrounds, and more!
Lomotif allows its users to not only add music to their videos but also allows them to join video clips together to make a music video collage. The collages can be downloaded and saved to your mobile devices. They can also be shared to other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. All videos can be shared publicly or kept private. There is also an option to format the videos so they will be compatible with Instagram. Android users should be aware that some Android devices may not be compatible with this app.
If you’re new to the world of video editing than Vinkle is the app for you! Use Vinkle to make and edit videos, create digital e-cards using their special effects, and add music to your creations. With Vinkle, users can take selfies and then remove the backgrounds, replacing them with one from the app. Vinkle users can also access free tutorials on YouTube to learn more about Vinkle’s features.
If you use Tik Tok to promote your business, you might want to take steps to prepare for a Tik Tok ban. Once it goes into effect, you might not have another chance to get your affairs in order. While there are many unknowns regarding the U.S. Tik Tok ban, one thing is for sure, there are plenty of alternatives for Tik Tok users to consider. Are you already using one of the apps mentioned above? If so, let us know. Tag us on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to see what you’re creating and where to find it!
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