Jun 6, 2024 - News

Georgia entrepreneurs anxious over TikTok ban

Animated illustration of the TikTok logo glitching and turning into a no symbol.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Some of Georgia's small business owners are speaking out against a federal law that might ban TikTok nationwide.

Why it matters: President Biden signed a bill in April to force TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell its stake in the U.S. version of the app or else it'll be banned in the country on Jan. 19, 2025.

  • Federal officials say China's government can use TikTok to harvest user data as material for misinformation — and it could spy on citizens by accessing their device's microphones or tracking keystrokes.

Zoom in: Atlanta real estate agent Glennda Baker told Axios her TikTok videos resulted in deals totaling $60 million in yearly revenue. As for data privacy concerns, she believes "the horse is out of the gate" because our information is harvested when we use apps or websites.

  • She also said obtaining brand awareness on those platforms or on X, formerly known as Twitter, required investments that are costly to small businesses.

By the numbers: TikTok's new economic impact report, which was generated based on a survey of businesses and app users, found local businesses' use of the platform for advertising and marketing contributed $750 million to Georgia's GDP in 2023.

  • 300,000 businesses in the state and 5.4 million Georgians actively use TikTok, according to the report.

Threat level: Banning TikTok or forcing a sale could disrupt the U.S. media ecosystem and trigger economic tensions between the U.S. and its rivals, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

State of play: TikTok filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the Biden administration over the new law, alleging it negatively affects free speech among creators and businesses.

  • The AJC reports an Atlanta-based beauty brand owner is also suing the U.S. government, alongside seven other social media creators, to block the law.

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