What the banning of TikTok in other countries could foretell for the U.S.

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The Impact of TikTok Bans on Creators and Startups Worldwide


TikTok, the popular short video app, has faced a series of bans in various countries around the world, impacting ByteDance, the company that owns the app, as well as creators and startups associated with the creator economy. In this article, we will explore the bans implemented in different markets, their impact on creators and businesses, and the rise of local alternatives. Additionally, we will discuss the potential implications of the recent U.S. bill that could lead to the ban of TikTok if ByteDance fails to sell the app.

Bans in Different Markets

India, one of the largest consumer markets in the world, implemented a ban on TikTok in June 2020, along with several other Chinese apps, citing national security concerns. This decision had a significant impact on ByteDance’s operations in the country and led to the emergence of local alternatives. Instagram quickly released Reels in India to fill the void left by TikTok, and other platforms such as Moj, Josh, and Roposo also gained popularity among Indian users.

Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Senegal, Somalia, Kyrgyzstan, and Nepal are among the countries that have also banned TikTok for various reasons. Afghanistan’s Taliban banned TikTok and PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG) in 2022, claiming that they were misleading the youth. In Uzbekistan, restrictions on TikTok were imposed in July 2021 after many people used VPNs to access the app. Senegal blocked TikTok in August 2023 following the sentencing of an opposition leader, as citizens used the platform to register dissent. Similarly, Somalia banned TikTok, along with Telegram and betting site 1xBet, citing the spread of misinformation. Kyrgyzstan expressed concerns about the platform’s impact on children’s health and development, leading to its ban in August 2023. Nepal banned TikTok in November 2023 due to disruptions in social harmony, cybercrime, and concerns about family and social structures.

Apart from these countries, Iran has also banned TikTok, along with other major social networks. The exact date of the ban is unknown. Additionally, several countries and regions, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the European Union, New Zealand, and Australia, have banned TikTok from official devices.

Impact on Creators and Startups

The bans on TikTok have had a significant impact on creators who relied on the platform for reach and monetization. Many small businesses also used TikTok as a promotional tool. With the ban in India, creators had to find alternative platforms to connect with their audience. Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts were launched to fill the gap left by TikTok, but these platforms may not prioritize short videos or have the same recommendation algorithm, causing creators to lose their audience.

The emergence of local alternatives has provided some opportunities for creators, but having to invest in multiple platforms to reach their audience has become a challenge. This fragmentation of the creator economy can lead to a loss of potential revenue and growth for creators and businesses. Additionally, the ban on TikTok has disrupted the ecosystem and flow of content, making it difficult for creators to establish themselves on a new platform.

The bans also raise concerns about the curtailment of free speech. Digital rights activists argue that banning platforms like TikTok restricts the ability of individuals to express themselves freely. This viewpoint has gained traction in countries like India and could potentially play out in the United States as the government and ByteDance engage in legal battles over the ban.

Local Alternatives and the Future of TikTok

The bans on TikTok have paved the way for the rise of local alternatives in many countries. India, in particular, witnessed the emergence of platforms like Moj, Josh, and Roposo, which aimed to fill the void left by TikTok. These platforms gained popularity among Indian users and provided an opportunity for local creators to showcase their talent.

However, the sustainability and long-term success of these local alternatives remain uncertain. They face stiff competition from established social media platforms and the risk of losing their user base once TikTok returns or a new globally recognized short video app emerges. It is essential for these platforms to differentiate themselves and provide unique features and experiences to attract and retain users.

As for TikTok itself, the recent U.S. bill signed by President Joe Biden raises questions about the future of the app in the country. If ByteDance fails to sell TikTok within the specified timeframe, the app could face a ban in the United States. This has prompted speculation about the potential impact on creators and businesses who have built their presence and livelihoods on the platform. Creators may need to seek alternative platforms to safeguard their work and maintain their audience, similar to what happened in India.


The bans on TikTok in various markets have had far-reaching implications for ByteDance, creators, and startups associated with the creator economy. The emergence of local alternatives has provided some opportunities for creators, but the fragmentation of the market and the loss of tiktok’s user base have posed challenges. The curtailment of free speech is also a concern raised by digital rights activists.

The future of TikTok remains uncertain, as the recent U.S. bill raises the possibility of a ban in one of its largest markets. This could have significant consequences for creators and businesses relying on the platform. As the legal battles unfold, it is crucial for creators to diversify their presence across multiple platforms to mitigate the risks associated with TikTok’s uncertain future.

Ultimately, the bans on TikTok highlight the complex intersection of technology, geopolitics, and the freedom of expression. As governments continue to grapple with the regulation of social media platforms, the impact on creators and the broader digital ecosystem must be carefully considered to ensure a balanced approach that protects both national security and individual rights.

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