Apr 8, 2024 - News

🤑 TikTok's economic impact on Virginia

Illustration of three dollar signs rendered similarly to the TikTok logo

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

TikTok contributed more than half a billion dollars to Virginia's economy last year, according to a company-paid report released last week.

The big picture: Virginia is 1 of 18 states TikTok singled out to tout its economic impact in the report, which the platform is actively pitching to media and posting across its channels amid increased scrutiny from state and federal lawmakers.

Why it matters: It has the potential to tap into the economy — a key bipartisan issue for legislators and voters ahead of the 2024 election, reports Axios' Eleanor Hawkins.

How it works: TikTok surveyed 1,050 small-to-mid-sized businesses and 7,500 TikTok users nationwide, including 50 business owners and 186 users from Virginia.

  • One local example used is Vaughan House near Lynchburg, which does greenhouse weddings and has nearly half a million followers on the app.

By the numbers: In Virginia, nearly 150,000 businesses and 3.3 million people actively use TikTok, per the report.

  • More than a third of small businesses said it's critical to their business.
  • Its use provided $550 million to the economy, over $120 million in federal, state and local tax revenue and 5,300 jobs in 2023.

Catch up quick: The House passed legislation in Congress in March that could lead to a federal TikTok ban, which President Biden has promised to sign if it passes the Senate.

  • Virginia banned TikTok from state-owned devices last year, as part of growing national security concerns due to the app's alleged relationship with Chinese-owned ByteDance.
  • A bill to ban it for kids statewide failed this session.

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