Small business owners rally against TikTok ban threat in US

Small businesses feel betrayed by American-owned platforms like Instagram and Facebook, which have not offered the same opportunities to go viral.

e-commerce, Tik Tok,phone

Paul Tran and his wife Lynda experienced a transformative moment when their skincare brand gained viral attention on TikTok. The couple, based in Atlanta, saw their business, @loveandpebble, skyrocket in popularity after showcasing their Beauty Pops ice face masks on the platform in 2021. The viral exposure led to sold-out inventory and features on major shows like ‘The Today Show’ and ‘Shark Tank.’

However, their success is now threatened by a bill passed by the US Senate, signed into law by President Joe Biden in April, which could ban TikTok in the US if its owner, ByteDance, fails to divest the app within a year. The legal move is driven by concerns over data security and potential spying by China. TikTok creators, including small business owners like Tran, are fighting back, with some suing the US government to block the law and preserve their livelihoods.

Why does it matter?

For many small businesses, TikTok has been a lifeline, offering unparalleled opportunities for exposure and growth that American-owned platforms like Meta, Alphabet, and Snap have struggled to replicate. The app’s algorithm, combined with features like TikTok Shop, which allows creators to sell directly within the app, has been instrumental in propelling businesses to success.

The stories of entrepreneurs like Summer Lucille and Felicia Jackson underscore TikTok’s unique ability to level the playing field for small creators. Lucille found rapid success with her plus-size clothing company after years of frustration on other platforms, while Jackson credits TikTok with revitalizing her business, CPRWrap, after previous attempts on platforms like Facebook and Pinterest fell short. As rivals like Meta’s Instagram attempt to address disparities in content reach, the enduring appeal of TikTok lies in its ability to foster communities and provide equal opportunities for creators of all sizes.