TikTok Ban
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TikTok Ban

August 29, 2020

🎥 TikTok Ban? — Karlie Kloss leads investment group to acquire W Magazine — AMC reopens theaters with $.15 tickets — and how business managers are managing their own teams through Covid…


White House battle with TikTok sends creators (and their business managers) scrambling for a backup plan.


As President Trump threatened to close Chinese-owned TikTok in the name of national security, the app financed nineteen of its top U.S. video creators as a way to keep them on the platform, and avert potential interest from rivals who might try and poach them. The financing comes as a part of TikTok’s initial $200 million fund called The Creator Fund. Last week, TikTok published a press release which stated that the “fund will reach hundreds of thousands of creators, starting with $200 million and growing to $1 billion in the US over the next three years, and more than double that globally.”


The threat of closing the app has sent the users and influencers scrambling. Many of them have turned TikTok into a social setting where they interact with fellow peers, especially at a time when due to the pandemic physical interaction and attending bars or clubs has been limited, or non-existent.


Perhaps the most severe blow, however, would be dealt to influencers who use TikTok as a way to make a living. Hootie Hurley, 21, who has more than 1.1 million followers on the app told the New York Times that losing access to TikTok would be “particularly devastating right now” and that the app “has put food on our table.”


Some of these influencers, predominantly teens, have earned millions through the app. Earlier this month, Forbes published a list of the top 7 highest earning TikTok stars, who have cumulatively earned over $18 million.


With their source of income threatened, many have started exploring alternatives to maintain their relevance in the rapidly changing social media sphere by trying to diversify or partially migrate into other platforms. The most popular options: Instagram and YouTube.


The potential opening of the flood gates has also led other apps to experience a boom. Byte (cofounded by a Vine cofounder), Dubsmash, Triller and Zynn grew installations by a spectacular 361%, since Trump threatened to ban TikTok from U.S. marketplaces, according to data from SensorTower.


The potential closure of the company’s business in the U.S. has driven another well-known player, Facebook, to try and fill the gap. In early August, Facebook launched Reels, a TikTok counterpart that allows users to post short videos accompanied by music.


Taylor Lorenz, internet culture reporter for The New York Times, however, was not impressed, calling Reels “the most delusional product” she has seen, adding that it “doesn’t have anything that makes TikTok compelling.”


It is not the first time Facebook has copycatted a successful feature of a social media rival. In 2016, Instagram (owned by Facebook) released the ephemeral Stories, a feature that has been “copy pasted” from Snapchat — and since its launch four years ago it has found immense success. It remains to be seen to what extent Reels will be accepted by users, and whether it will turn into another cash cow for Facebook.


Meanwhile, TikTokers are left hoping that another company will acquire TikTok (Microsoft being the most serious contender with reports mentioning purchase prices of $50 billion) or figure out a way to migrate their followers to other platforms.

💰 Supermodel Karlie Kloss led an investment group that acquired W Magazine. Other investors include film producer Jason Blum, model Kaia Gerber and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.


🍿 AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain, will open its doors to customers for the first time since the pandemic caused the theaters to close down. Price for a ticket will be 15 cents, same as it was when it opened in 1920.


🎮 Epic Games, owner of popular mobile game Fortnite, announced that it had filed lawsuits against Apple and Google. The tech giants earlier banned the game, as a reaction to a Fortnite update which let players buy game currency at a cheaper price if they did it directly from Fortnite, thus effectively bypassing the App Store and the Google Play store.

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