House To Vote on TikTok Ban This Week: Black Content Creators Face Uncertain Future

The future of TikTok in the United States hangs in the balance as lawmakers prepare for a House vote on a 13-page bill proposing the hugely popular platform’s ban this week. While proponents argue the bill is crucial for national security, TikTok asserts that the ban would encroach upon free speech rights.

Khaby Lame , Black, TikTok
VENICE, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 06: Khaby Lame attends the “Il Signore Delle Formiche” red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 06, 2022 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

The legislation, which garnered unanimous support from a bipartisan committee last week, mandates TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to divest from its Chinese ownership within five months or face prohibition by major app store operators like Apple and Google.

If this bill passes, ByteDance will have 180 days to sell the company.

The bill was proposed to “protect the national security of the United States from the threat posed by foreign adversary controlled applications,” CBS News reported.

Concerns raised by the FBI and Federal Communications Commission regarding potential data sharing between ByteDance and the Chinese government have bolstered support for the bill. Despite TikTok vehemently denying any data sharing, it argues that the proposed ban would violate the First Amendment rights of its 170 million American users. And there has been no evidence presented by the U.S. government to suggest that TikTok has shared data with China.

How Black TikTok Creators Could Be Affected

The potential ban of TikTok carries significant implications. For Black creators, TikTok serves as a crucial platform for sharing their voices, stories, and creativity. Its elimination would disrupt the lives of countless creators and deprive audiences of diverse perspectives and entertainment. Some Black creators have also made TikToking a full-time job, other use it as an additional source of income.

While the platform has had a race pay gap that has been widely debated as Black creators tend not to get the same sponsorship opportunities as white peers on the platform. Still, some 23 percent of Black influencers are considered macro creators, earning upwards of $100,000 annually, according to Okay Player. And, 77 percent are micro, earning $27,000 annually. 

According to Forbes, the Senegalese-born creator Khaby Lame earned $16.5 million in 2023. With over 160 million followers on TikTok, Lame is currently the most-followed TikToker worldwide.

As the bill awaits its House vote, President Joe Biden has indicated his readiness to sign it into law if passed. The bill’s trajectory through the House and Senate remains uncertain, but TikTok continues to rally its users to oppose the ban.

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