Tech giants like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube could benefit if TikTok is banned in the US
On the eve of a high-profile TikTok hearing this week, the company shared that it now has more than 150 million US monthly active users. But after the heated, hours-long hearing, filled with lawmakers telling TikTok’s CEO the app should be banned, some may now be wondering where all those users will go next if the social network disappears.
Many of the largest US social media companies have spent years copying TikTok’s features, which would make a shift away from the platform easier for its creators and users. Instagram, for example, introduced its own short-form video tool in 2020 called Reels. Snapchat has Spotlight, YouTube has Shorts and even Spotify has a TikTok-like video feed with recommended music and other content.
“Obviously, if a ban is approved and enforced, the content, user count and engagement, and likely ad dollars for Snap, Instagram, and YouTube will increase,” said Ali Mogharabi, an analyst at financial services firm Morningstar, in a recent investor’s note. In other words, Washington’s efforts to crack down on TikTok over national security concerns could ultimately benefit some of the same American tech companies that Washington has scrutinized for other reasons, including their market dominance and impact on teens.
“Most users will flock to where the content creators go next,” Su said. “Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube Shorts stand to benefit the most as content creators will still prefer places where they can monetize their content.”
Triller the Next Big Thing?
Smaller platforms have the opportunity to gain ground, too, Su said. Short-form video platform Triller, which reportedly has over 450 million users, is actively courting popular content creators from TikTok with cash bonuses, partnerships and other incentives to switch platforms. Meanwhile, Dubsmach – a Reddit-owned short video platform – and Clash, which allows people to create 21-second looping videos, are other platforms that could be increasingly appealing to creators.
Future of TikTok
For now, talk of a TikTok ban may still be premature. The Biden administration has threatened to ban TikTok from the United States unless the app’s Chinese owners agree to spin off their share of the social media platform. “I strongly doubt this app will go dark,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi told CNN during a primetime special about TikTok on Thursday. He said a sale is most likely. If the app is sold, that could complicate matters for some US tech platforms.