Thomas Walters, chief executive, Europe, and co-founder of influencer marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy, believes brands and content creators that have invested heavily in TikTok may suffer after a ban on the app on devices used by UK Government officials was announced today (16 March) by Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden.
Walters said: “The move could have a surprising ripple effect for consumers and brands as unease over the platform’s future grows. This ban could significantly shake up the social media landscape in the UK.
“The concern is that it could spook some consumers and brands, reducing the amount of time and investment they put into the platform. That presents a challenge for brands and content creators who have amassed large followings on TikTok, and whose content doesn’t translate across to other platforms perfectly.”
Factors such as TikTok’s personalised algorithm and lack of emphasis on follower count, as well as its shift towards “spontaneous, raw, unfiltered content”, are among the reasons for the platform’s popularity, said Walters.
He said a temporary solution would be “for brands and creators to pivot to Instagram and YouTube’s equivalent shortform video content formats – Reels and Shorts, respectively – which are increasing in popularity”.
Other social media platforms would be wise to “capitalise” on the opportunity, according to Walters.
“As for TikTok,” he said, “the platform will need to reassure users and stakeholders of its compliance to fair and transparent data handling to avoid any further damage.”
The UK Government’s decision follows accusations, heavily denied by TikTok, that the platform shares data with the Chinese Government.
A similar ban was issued by the US in December and by the European Commission last month.