President Donald Trump’s recent statements around banning TikTok in the U.S. via executive order sent shockwaves throughout social media. Though the order has since been revised to a 45-day deadline for a Microsoft acquisition, TikTok creators – and the platforms whole ecosystem, for that matter – have been heavily weighing their options amidst the potential fallout.
Influencer’s responses to the announcement were mixed, with a blend of initial panic, sadness, and dark humor that could be argued to be veiled anxiety over the future of the platform. This is a particularly anxious time for beauty influencers, as brand deals have already been signed with a strong reliance on the continued existence of TikTok. The uncertainty that surrounds TikTok instantly inserts these creators into similar realms of incertitude.
While high-profile influencers may be able to cross over to other platforms with ease, “there’s this large population of influencers on TikTok in the middle, who are kind of set up to lose their jobs,” says Joe Gagliese, co-founder and CEO of influencer marketing agency Viral Nation, which counts TikTok as one its clients. For Gagliese, this situation rekindles his prior experience with app shutdowns, having previously managed influencers on the now-defunct Vine. “The great influencers — arguably the ‘born-to-be-influencer types’ — they do really well with diversifying their content,” he says. “But there definitely is a big subset of influencers on [TikTok], who struggle to make content that’s good for other platforms, so that’s going to hinder them.”
Though uncertainty remains around the future of the platform in the U.S., the Microsoft-proposed acquisition has instilled a slightly more optimistic tone for TikTok-focused businesses. President Trump gave the go-ahead in a public statement on August 3rd.
“I’m bullish on it, in the sense that I think if Microsoft could get that deal done, I think that it will push TikTok to a whole other level,” said Gagliese. “Whether brands want to say it or not, the security risks posed there have probably hindered them from spending big on that platform. I think that if it was Microsoft-owned, that it could be a huge positive momentum push for the platform.”
“…there definitely is a big subset of influencers on [TikTok], who struggle to make content that’s good for other platforms, so that’s going to hinder them.”-Joe Gagliese, co-founder and CEO of Viral Nation