Is TikTok getting banned in the US? Here’s how to prepare for the worst

10 min

The US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill that could result in a TikTok ban in the United States on the 13th of March, 2024. The vote was 352-65.

The bill requires ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to divest or sell the app within 165 days or face a ban on U.S. devices.

To become law, the bill still needs to secure approval in the Senate and be signed by the president, which might happen quickly or take a long time.

Many possible scenarios can occur, and these are connected to the U.S. elections, some diplomatic and political affairs, companies’ willingness to buy TikTok, and ByteDance’s willingness to sell the app.

As an American business owner, influencer, or content creator, you have little power or control over what happens. But this TikTok ban might affect your business, revenue, or main source of income.

In this article, we will discuss ways to mitigate those risks and ensure that any potential ban has the minimum impact possible on your income.

Who will be affected by the TikTok ban in the US?

A glimpse over the data that is available online, on TikTok’s site, and the comments of the company’s CEO after the House passed the bill shows that the following can be affected by the ban:

  • 7 million businesses in the U.S.
  • Around 130,000 American influencers
  • Retailers who promote mainly through TikTok
  • Teachers, as TikTok’s CEO claimed

Moreover, TikTok had a positive impact on the following industries in the U.S. :

  • Auto
  • Beauty & personal care
  • Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs)
  • Food & Beverages
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Fashion
  • Financial services
  • Gaming
  • Tech
  • Telco

How important is TikTok for Americans? 

Regarding the risks of TikTok getting banned, the company’s CEO, Sho Zi Chew, commented that the platform has empowered 7 million businesses in the US, including small business owners who rely on TikTok to make ends meet. 

Chew also claimed that TikTok has provided 170,000 users in the U.S. with a platform to express themselves freely. 

The popular mobile application celebrated reaching 150 million active monthly users in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2023. According to CBS News, a significant portion of these rely on the platform as a secondary or even a primary source of income

Now that the number of these users has grown, the ban in the U.S. might financially affect more people, creators, and businesses. 

What is the significance of TikTok as a platform for generating revenue in the USA?

  1. 33% of Millenial social platform users in the US say that TikTok inspired them to buy something recommended by creators
  2. 4 in 5 US users say that TikTok creator messages’ are believable
  3. US data shows that TikTok drives +96% higher paid media ROAS than all digital media measured.
  4. 40% of American TikTok users who made a Christmas purchase bought something they saw on TikTok.
  5. US users are 1.3x more likely to recall a TV show or movie title if they saw content about it on TikTok
  6. Moreover, more than 130,000 influencers in the U.S. have a follower base of more than 10,000.
TikTok ban in the US - TikTok Influencers by followers in the US


This means that besides the 7 million businesses getting affected, as TikTok’s CEO claims, hundreds of thousands of influencers’ revenue or even main source of income will be affected.

In which countries is TikTok banned?

TikTok is already partially banned in the U.S.A. 39 states have restricted It on governmental devices. Moreover, in 2023, Montana became the first state to ban It, though this is being challenged in court. 

The app is also banned on governmental devices in Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the UK.

Nepal, Hong Kong, and India have completely banned TikTok. And that was due to political reasons.

What lessons can be learned from countries where TikTok is banned?

Examining countries like India, Nepal, and Hong Kong, where TikTok was banned, can provide valuable insights.

TikTok can still be accessed, but with limitations

A glimpse over some discussion forums, ads, and subreddits shows that users in India and Nepal are resorting to VPNs, DNS settings, and web proxies to get access to the app.

The use of proxies and VPNs in Nepal to be able to access TikTok

In Nepal, internet traffic grew by 20 percent after the ban on TikTok, despite experts and internet service providers expecting the opposite. However, apparently, the use of VPNs to access the app increased bandwidth consumption.

While many YouTubers, VPN companies, and blogs promote these methods, they are still ineffective for content creators wanting to monetize their content or companies wanting to run ads on TikTok.

The Use of VPN in India to get Access to TikTok's ads platform

Also, while some users find loopholes when accessing TikTok’s ad platform, they still encounter issues affecting their tracking and attribution.

TikTok ads and attributions not working in India

It is safe to say that users in these countries where TikTok is banned are still finding methods to access the app. However, they face several limitations when it comes to running ads and monetizing content.

On top of that, these methods aren’t sustainable, and they increase bandwidth consumption and costs.

Advertisers should adapt and look for alternatives

Another lesson that can be learned from Hong Kong, India, and Nepal is that adaptation is key to survival. 

In this case, it was pretty easy for most marketers because they allocated their TikTok budget to platforms with similar content formats, such as Facebook and Instagram reels and YouTube shorts. 

After the ban, there was a surge in short-video form platforms in India, and many apps and their features were available as alternatives. Moj and Josh, for example, became very popular. On top of that, Spotify launched a video feed, and Snapchat Spotlight was released.

Moreover, conversational marketing started gaining popularity in India, specifically through bulk messages and promotions on WhatsApp.

Users will move on to other platforms

In India, after the ban on TikTok apps like Moj and Josh captured most of TikTok’s users, and at one point, they reached 160 million monthly active users in India.

In Hong Kong, users resorted to Instagram and YouTube shorts. 

So, users will naturally seek similar content on other platforms, and big companies and social media giants like Meta and YouTube will take advantage of this. 

The shift won’t be easy for top influencers

Most Indian influencers that were big on TikTok had to shift to other apps as an alternative and lost followers and revenue along the way. 

The reason might be that TikTok could be used on cheaper, budget-friendly phones, unlike other apps.

It is even estimated that India’s top 100 influencers collectively lost over $15 million a few months after the ban in 2020. The equation is simple: You move to another platform with fewer followers and generate less revenue from partnerships and sponsorships.

After all, brands and companies do value the number of users you can reach, and fewer followers means less payment.

What should you do to maintain your online presence and TikTok revenue?

While there’s no guaranteed way to maintain the exact revenue you’re generating from TikTok, you can take many steps and precautions to minimize the risk of losing big or even maintaining the same level of revenue.

The way to deal with the ban depends on how you use TikTok. Marketers, business owners, influencers, and content creators can be affected differently. So here are the best approaches to mitigate the risks that can apply to all:

Try not to waste your time on hacks and loopholes

Many people believe there’s always a way to access the app if it gets banned. These might include VPNs, web proxies, or traveling to neighboring countries like Canada or Mexico. 

After all, you might get access to the app but lose access to the user base. If you’re a business or a marketer promoting goods and services, you won’t be able to promote these to people in America even if you can access the app. The user base is not there anymore. 

The same applies to influencers. Sponsors and companies see value in your ability to create and reach out to an audience. If you cannot reach that audience, having access to the app is worthless. 

Don’t wait for the ban: Diversify your outreach methods now!

If most of your revenue comes from TikTok and the platform suddenly gets banned, you’ll be heavily affected, especially if you can’t rely on another channel to reach your audience. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

So do not wait for the ban; if you rely only on TikTok, diversify your outreach and acquisition channels. Test out diverse marketing platforms and methods and see what works well for you besides TikTok and short video platforms. 

Own your promotional media 

All social media platforms risk restrictions, bans, and policy changes. Also, any of these social media platforms you use can block, restrict your platform, or limit your organic reach.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to have your website or at least a landing page where your audience can learn about your latest updates and releases and contact you if possible. 

So, if you’re relying on TikTok to communicate with your clients or audience and to sell your products, whether digital or physical, try to create a website as soon as you can. 

Owning your website means you’ll gain more insight and data about your target audiences and have your platform to sell products online and communicate with your audience. So if any social media platform gets banned or takes your account down, you’ll always have your website.

If you can create a TikTok video, creating a website can be as easy, especially with platforms like GetResponse, which offers a drag-and-drop builder and an AI assistant. 

Get your audience to subscribe to a newsletter

TikTok and social media are usually great for acquiring new users. However, their algorithms can also reduce your organic reach in some cases. Not to mention that some of these apps can ban you or get banned by governments.

The best way to maintain contact with your audience is to get them to subscribe to a newsletter. The most popular way to be feature-rich and have the fewest restrictions is email.

With email newsletters, you can create automation flows to send campaigns automatically after certain conditions are met. You can also get creative with the design of the emails and include images, buttons, and calls to action. 

GetResponse's Email Newsletter templates

Our email marketing experts at GetResponse have created a guide on building an email list with some great ideas you can use or get inspired by.

There are other methods of sending newsletters nowadays, like messenger apps, but these come with restrictions and limitations. The conversation usually goes one way, plus they’re considered social media features. Again, here it’s all about owning your media. Remember:

“Don’t Build Your Content House On Rented Land”

-Joe Pulizzi

Experiment with digital content like webinars and courses

If you already have a massive audience on TikTok that follows you closely, try to convert them into webinars and course registrants. You can make these free or paid; either way, you’d get to keep their emails and have an audience list you can communicate with.  

Creating a course or a webinar won’t be complicated if you use a tool like GetResponse. The best part is that you can sometimes sell these as evergreen digital products to generate a passive income stream. Check out our article on how to make money with your email list to learn more.

Also, the email list that you generate can be useful to other businesses that want to reach your audience. 

But remember, never sell your list to other companies that email these users without their consent. However, you can promote their products or services to your audience and provide a discount code, for example.

Things to keep in mind

In conclusion, maintaining your online presence and revenue in the face of a potential TikTok ban requires proactive and strategic planning.

Do not think about relying on VPNs or loopholes, as they do not offer a sustainable solution to the fundamental problem of losing access to your user base.

Instead, focus on diversifying your outreach and acquisition channels, owning your promotional media through a personal website or landing page, and engaging directly with your audience via email newsletters.

Additionally, explore creating digital content such as webinars and courses to solidify your relationship with your audience and potentially open up new revenue streams.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your digital livelihood remains robust, regardless of the challenges arising from platform-specific restrictions or bans.

Nael Chhaytli
Nael Chhaytli
Nael Chhaytli is a Digital Marketing Expert and a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at GetResponse with a diverse background in marketing specializations. He has used his expertise to drive success and growth for businesses in the service, SaaS, and e-commerce sectors.