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Tick Tock, TikTok?

Written by Brook Schaaf

Of all the possibilities in the affiliate adjacent space in this new year, the one that intrigues me the most is what, if anything, should happen to TikTok here in the US.

On the one hand, TikTok is riding high and is predicted to grow its active users worldwide in 2023 to 834 million. Digiday earlier this week asserted that advertising agencies will be shifting their focus – and their ad spend – to that platform. The Wall Street Journal had a piece with a similar theme.

On the other hand, many criticize TikTok as spy- and malware controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Spyware because it records lots of personal user data, even clipboards. Malware because search results and video feeds can be influential as propaganda. The US House just banned it on official phones, as have several states. India banned it in 2020.

Security and social issues aside, US social media companies like Instagram and Twitter would be likely beneficiaries of erstwhile TikTok traffic, so there’s a plausible, even likely, political coalition working behind the scenes.

This would presumably mean a surge of advertising revenue back to competitors. It seems to me some would likely spill back into the affiliate space.

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