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article imageTrump's attempt to ban TikTok will increase its popularity Special

By Tim Sandle     Aug 15, 2020 in Internet
President Donald Trump's attempts to ban the Chinese run TikTok social media service are likely to make the service more popular, according to a leading analyst. We unpick the reasons. One reason is because there's nothing to rival the platform.
Politicians need to be careful when they attempt to take something away that people like, whatever the underlying political reasons. This often ends up making the thing that they are attempting to prohibit more popular than ever before. Amy Rumpler, VP of Paid Social at automated digital media management platform Centro. explains to Digital Journal her thoughts on the unfolding ban attempt on TikTok.
Digital Journal: How popular is TikTok?
Amy Rumpler: Trump news related to TikTok is potentially making the platform even more popular. It was already becoming a hub for information and organizing Gen-Z activists and politically minded people. In their Newfronts presentation this year, TikTok talked about how their community has leveraged the app to become active around social injustice, the pandemic and many other issues. Those users likely care more about the app staying alive and true to what it is today than whether it’s owned by a US-based company or a Chinese-based one.
DJ: What could happen if TikTok is purchased by a U.S. firm?
Rumpler: If the Microsoft buy goes down, the software giant could use user data to tweak features and content on their other properties to appeal to a broader audience. For instance, think of the possibilities that would come from TikTok being made available in Xbox as an app integration. Developers could target players with videos of people playing new releases and from there could offer the option for people to immediately click, download the game and then share clips with their own TikTok audience. Or, how easy it would be for people to make TikToks of themselves doing Fortnight dances, and share those with friends they play Fortnite with via Xbox.
DJ: What will happen if Microsoft doesn't secure TikTok?
Rumpler:If the Microsoft deal doesn’t go through, it’s unlikely that the app will get shut down before the election considering the disruption and friction it would cause for the platform’s 100 million U.S. users. However, in the unlikely event that the app does get shut down, users will likely move to a different platform like Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube.
This year, much of TikTok’s user growth has come from the more mature generations. Similar to the market conditions Snapchat faced in its earlier days, TikTok understands that in order to maintain a strong hold on its audience, it has to be able to attract users across generations – not just the younger ones. This month, Facebook is set to launch its TikTok competitive feature called Reels, given a majority of TikTok’s more mature users are already on Instagram and Facebook, it's likely this new feature will draw their attention – if it holds up.
DJ: Could a new platform emerge to challenge TikTok?
Rumpler:When it comes to the competition, the other TikTok alternatives are too new and too small to currently present a valid opportunity for advertisers or to stand a chance at attracting a user base comparable to the one TikTok has today. Even with popular TikTok influencers signing on board to help push these emergent apps forward, it’s not enough to help them compete with the likes of Instagram or Snapchat.
After all, they’re betting that TikTok’s users will follow their favorite influencer to one of these new platforms as opposed to turning to something they’re more familiar with – a scenario that is unlikely without strategic buyouts or partnerships. Even TikTok, in its early days, struggled with driving organic interest – they won many of their users through its acquisition of Musical.ly.
More about TikTok, Social media, Trump, China
 
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