According to Sensor Tower data, TikTok was America's most downloaded app in 2021 and 2022. It drives new culinary habits, including a 200% increase in Feta sales after a viral baked pasta recipe; numerous fashion and beauty trends (from skin cycling to glazed donut nails); and propels new music to the top of the streaming charts (including the 1980s hit 'Break My Stride).
The app was used by a significant number of US politicians to campaign ahead of last year's midterm elections. TikTok has recently joined legacy news organizations such as the 176-year old Associated Press to reach new audiences.
As lawmakers renew calls for tougher action on the app, some app users who have made their livelihoods and developed a sense of community through the app claim they cannot imagine an America without it.
Callie Goodwin from Columbia, South Carolina posted her first video to the app in order to promote her small business that she started out of her garage during pandemic.
Goodwin was inspired by a neighbor who dropped off brownies and a note to her while she was quarantine. Goodwin launched Sparks of Joy Co, pre-stamped greeting card company.
Goodwin stated to CNN that over 90% of her orders come from people who discovered her business via TikTok. Goodwin stated to CNN that if it was banned, her business would plummet. I would lose the majority of my sales.
KahlilGreene, New Haven, Connecticut: He is known as the "Gen Z historian" on social media. He has more than 580,000 TikTok followers and documents social and cultural issues. Greene's TikTok followers have attracted the attention of the Biden government. Greene was one of the few TikTokers invited to the White House press conference on the Russian invasion in Ukraine. He stated that TikTok is now so much a part of our culture and lives, it's not something you can just rip away.
TikTok continues to hire American engineers, even though major tech companies like Meta and Twitter are cutting staff. A flurry recent job postings suggests that TikTok is also looking to take on Amazon's ecommerce empire.
According to Rick Sofield, a Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. partner, the challenge for federal government is that TikTok's size makes it almost impossible for them to succeed. He focuses on economic sanctions, export controls, national security reviews and export control. "I believe their minds have made the decision that ByteDance owning TikTok a national security threat - the reason we've been stuck up is that it's too large to fail, and they are trying to find a soft landing."
Adrianna Wise from Columbus, Ohio: TikTok is more than just a tool for building her bakery. It's also a crucial tool that allows her to reach young Black and Brown people in her area and share tips and knowledge on how to start a business.
Wise, co-founder of Coco’s Confectionary Kitchen, said that she can see the impact I have on the community when she goes out and people are like, "Oh my godsh, I follow your TikTok." "I had a little girl tell me a few weeks back, "It was just so cool because your hair is like mine, and you're also on TikTok, and you have so much views!"
Hootie, a Los Angeles-based creator who has more than 1.3million followers on TikTok said that most of his income comes from his TikTok audience.
Hurley stated that a ban would be "very scary" for him and his livelihood. However, he and other TikTok creators are more concerned with entertaining their audience and not worrying about it after facing the first ban threat back in 2020.
He said that if the government did ban it, everyone would be surprised.