Here’s which Big Tech rivals would benefit from a crackdown on TikTok

Canada TikTok Ban
The TikTok startup page is displayed on an iPhone in Ottawa, Ontario, Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. The federal government is banning TikTok from its mobile devices just days after federal and provincial privacy commissioners launched an investigation into the social media platform. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP) Sean Kilpatrick/AP

Here’s which Big Tech rivals would benefit from a crackdown on TikTok

Video Embed

Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech rivals stand to make billions of dollars if a national ban of TikTok comes to pass.

TikTok faces pressure from the White House and Congress to eliminate its connection to China and diminish the national security threat of U.S. user data being leaked overseas.

Its competitors may be in an excellent place to step in if TikTok is removed altogether.

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Snap, and YouTube all have alternative venues to host similar content, which could allow them to earn the advertising dollars that are left in TikTok’s wake.

“The impact of banning Tik Tok should be positive for YouTube and Instagram,” Emile El Nems, a senior executive at Moody’s Investors Service, told the Washington Examiner. “Having a competitor like TikTok banned should result in higher revenue share of the total digital advertising wallet.”

El Nems said that TikTok generated $11 billion in revenue, so a ban on the app would split the revenue across all the other platforms.

SVB COLLAPSE: INFLUENTIAL LAWMAKERS CALL TO LIFT $250,000 CAP ON FDIC DEPOSIT INSURANCE

TikTok has seen its user base grow immensely in recent years. The app went from 100 million U.S. users in 2021 to 150 million in 2022, according to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew. At least two-thirds of American teenagers use the app, according to a Pew Research survey in August.

The platform was declared the most popular web domain in 2021.

TikTok’s short video form and algorithm-based recommendations were soon replicated by its competitors. Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts both arose in an effort to copy the TikTok format and bring users back to their platforms. The two platforms started out slow but are slowly creeping up in views and engagement as of the latest quarterly reports.

Those platforms would benefit from having their top rival taken out of the market. At least one of TikTok’s competitors has tried to paint the app badly on the public stage. Meta provided funding to the conservative firm Targeted Victory to promote several news stories alleging that the platform threatened children in the U.S.

Snap, Meta, and Google did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.

Under siege, TikTok has ramped up its own lobbying efforts. It now has the fourth-highest federal lobbying expenses of any internet company, according to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan platform tracking political spending.

Still, TikTok’s rivals have reason to fear a regulatory crackdown on the platform. A TikTok ban would “undermine [other platforms’] First Amendment protections as speech intermediaries because it sets a precedent that would make it easier for the U.S. government to ban them or limit their activities in the future based on purported privacy or national security concerns,” Caitlin Vogus, the deputy director of the Free Expression Project, told the Washington Examiner. Vogus also said that the ban would “provide an excuse for authoritarian regimes seeking to censor dissent in their country to ban them in those countries and diminish the credibility of the U.S. government when it objects to such bans.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interdepartmental agency that reviews transactions with international businesses, demanded that Chinese parent company ByteDance sell its stake in TikTok or risk being banned.

Members of Congress have advanced legislation to restrict or ban TikTok within the U.S. One bill, from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), would ban the app outright. Another, from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), would provide extra powers to the Commerce Department to analyze and determine if business deals involving foreign companies are security risks.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is set to speak before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles