TikTok ban threat forces creators to rethink Instagram and YouTube as revenue streams

The Biden administration’s ultimatum comes despite TikTok’s charm offensive in the last few months. Earlier this year, the app said it would impose an automatic time limit of 60 minutes on users under 18 years old, which could be circumvented with a parental code. It’s also trying to make the app a one-stop-shop for creators with the rollout of Series, which will let creators post paywalled content, meaning they can rely less on brand sponsorships and monetize directly through their fans.

“Creators are savvy business owners, they’re not going to let their fame, or fortune, disappear with a U.S./China data squabble,” said Cynthia Ruff, CEO and co-founder at Hashtag Pay Me, a platform that calculates base rates for creators. “The nice thing about marketing budgets is that these dollars don’t just evaporate from their marketing spend, so brands will likely invest in creator campaigns on other platforms with these dollars.”

But marketers say that brands have yet to stop their campaigns. “We have not seen any of our clients halt or slow TikTok campaigns,” said Evan Horowitz, CEO of the agency Movers+Shakers. “There’s a feeling that ‘we’ve seen this before,’ and we feel confident that it will get sorted out one way or another.”

In a recent video about the ban, creator V Spehar, known as @Under the Desk News, spoke frankly about the ban. “A ban is going to take a while, a forced sale is going to take a while,” they said. “In the meantime, I think it’s probably good news that the CEO of TikTok will be here to try to negotiate next week. So do we panic? We don’t. We’re going to be ok. Follow your favorite creators wherever they are.”