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What’s Next For TikTok In The US Now That The TikTok Ban Bill Has Been Signed Into Law?

As Fabrizio Romano would say, ‘ here we go!’. As expected, the TikTok ban bill has been signed into law by President Biden giving the white hot Chinese social media startup 9 months to comply and cede its Chinese ownership in order to continue to operate in the US.

My take is that TikTok is too big and growing too fast for the current ownership to shutter the social media platform that is probably the only one in the world that is giving Meta and Mark Zuckerberg sleepless nights.

TikTok’s incredibly efficient, and effective, algorithm that makes it super addictive for its users is it’s ‘secret sauce’ and its ‘interest graph’ is second to none. Heck, even Google is running scared as more and more people, and not just the ‘cool kids’ use TikTok as an alternative search engine!

So, what happens next? My take is TikTok will work day and night to find a mutually amicable solution that will keep it operating in the US – its largest market globally with 170M ‘rabid’ users, as well as 7M businesses of all sizes.

This will probably come with all sorts of caveats but my guess is the likes of Microsoft, who own LinkedIn, as well Google, who own YouTube, and are collectively leaders in the emerging technology era of ‘Generative AI’ would be ideal homes for the social media platform.

Both of these Big Tech behemoths would relish getting their hands on TikTok’s remarkable AI technology that powers its algorithm(s) that keep users ‘hooked’ on the platform.

The second reason is that TikTok, for the very first time, made more money than Tencent, the holding company that owns China’s wildly popular WeChat, an ‘everything app’ or ‘super app’. This is a very big deal as it shows that ByteDance has a very important and valuable social media platform.

TikTok is ‘spewing’ an obscene amount of money in the tens of billions of dollars in revenues and is fast approaching the gargantuan numbers that the Meta social media collective of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp makes.

Let’s not forget that Meta has its own major agenda for Generative AI and is investing just as much, if not more, than Microsoft and Google to buy hundreds of thousands of GPUs from NVIDIA to power AI workloads at its data centers for its open-source large language model or LLM, peculiarly named ‘Llama’.

Grab your popcorn and get ready for the fireworks to fly from late 2024 and beyond as the Big Tech Boys go head to head in a 3-way fight for the future of Generative AI when Meta finally bulks up! Make sure you don’t blink, or else, you will miss it.

However, given the massive concerns that the US Government has around the ‘sheer brawn’ of Big Tech players there who already seemingly wield more power than ever before, there will be serious hurdles for any of them to grab TikTok from ByteDance.

Antitrust considerations will be front and centre to see how all of this shapes up. Then, there is also the imminent US Presidential election which could throw in some serious curveballs for the future of TikTok depending on who wins it.

The other aspect to all of this is how the Chinese government will respond to one of their most successful technology startups ever with a massive footprint in the US and globally being forcibly sold to a US-based entity.

Naturally, this should be cause for concern but if you put the shoe on the other foot we all know that China has banned US-based social media platforms from being operational there for as long as two decades. It’s not like they have ever been nice to the US in this regard so clearly the gloves are off! Geopolitics be damned!

…and then there are countries like India that have already banned TikTok a few years ago and life is going on just fine there with Meta’s social media platforms picking up the pieces. Kenya too recently was also exploring the possibility of banning TikTok to ‘protect the youth’ from questionable social media comment. As the saying goes, ‘it’s complicated!’ 🙂

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