What the Sale of TikTok Could Mean for Content Creators – and Consumers

How the impending shift in TikTok’s ownership will affect its users.

“Get ready with me to be unemployed!” TikTok creator Kensington Tillo (@kensnation) quipped in a sardonic video posted last month.

The looming threat of TikTok’s impending ownership change-up directly impacts creators like Kensington. The beauty influencer has been transparent about the money she makes from the platform, through brand deals, paid partnerships and sponsored content.

“TikTok is my income,” she said in the video, “and it’s such a creative outlet for me.”

Kensington is based in Los Angeles, and as such is one of the creators who is most likely to be impacted by the United States’ potential ban – or sale – of TikTok.

Is TikTok getting banned? Not exactly

Over the past few months, reports about TikTok’s potential sale to the US government, or Meta, have circulated, sparking widespread conversation about the future of the platform – and why users value it currently.

“Where do we find all of our information now?” TikTok creator and YouTuber Arden Rose said in a video she posted to the platform. She opens the video by reporting that President Joe Biden had signed the bill that will force the sale of TikTok in the United States.

“Where do I find most of my unbiased information? I find it here,” she said, “because I’m getting sources that are just people.” She followed by contesting the sale of TikTok to Meta, describing Mark Zuckerberg’s potential version of the app as “hell.”

TikTok’s loose restrictions (there are a few notable exceptions, with workaround words like “corn” for sexually explicit content and “gardening” for cannabis use) enable creators to have true creative freedom when it comes to producing content.

Finneas, Billie Eilish’s brother and co-producer, reposted a video of a teenager catching a golf ball in his mouth, nearly choking, and spitting it out, commenting “if it wasn’t for TikTok, I never would have seen this.”

He added that the golf ball catcher “isn’t making any money from this – he’s just . . . sharing.”

TikTok’s ethos as a platform is rooted in sharing: whether it’s critical information on current events (my feed has been flooded recently with firsthand accounts on the ground in Gaza, for example) or lighter, more frivolous ideas, trends and hot takes.

At my desk, I scroll on TikTok for 10 seconds and fly through dating advice, skincare routines, celebrity gossip, global news, Dyson airwrap tutorials, Met Gala red carpet BTS, music video clips . . . Yet even with this monetized mix of content, the limits of true creative freedom merge with capitalist goals in a way that feels more organic, less ad-heavy, than on other platforms (ie, Instagram and Facebook, both owned by Meta).

So what would a potential Meta buyout mean for the platform?

TikTok is currently owned by ByteDance, the Chinese internet company, and under the guise of protecting users from invasive personal information collection, the United States government has called for the platform to be American owned, or banned entirely. The bill that creator Arden Rose referred to in her video confirms that TikTok will be bought out by a US based company, most likely Meta.

This poses a couple of key questions: one, about TikTok’s unique appeal to Gen Z, and what Meta ownership would mean for the demographic who have come up on (and made a living with) the app, and two, about the future of truly organic content on the internet (where else can you find “he’s just sharing” videos?).

Tick Tock, TikTok

“TikTok is the new Google,” a friend of mine said during COVID, a year or so after the platform gained traction for viral choreographed dances and Vine-esque videos. Scrolling on our phones together over the weekend in 2024, she said: “I Googled – I mean, I searched on TikTok…” and I flashed back to her original assessment of the app.

Years later, that statement has been backed up: in 2022, 40% of young people used TikTok and Instagram for searching key terms, questions and queries. In 2024, 74% use TikTok to search and 51% favour it over Google.

Now, Google is trying to keep up with TikTok, ranking social media posts at the top of search responses to retain users who are saving their questions and internet rabbit hole searches for TikTok.

There’s an element of trust in TikTok content that doesn’t translate to other apps. I myself relate to this: I trust a random girl’s opinion on a Dyson Airwrap dupe more than a Revlon blow dry brush ad (and if the two converge in the form of sponsored content, I watch with a critical eye – but I’m still watching).

Whether it’s hefty topics like navigating grief and loss or women talking about their hormonal health journeys, stale articles on Google can’t scratch the itch for real talk about real issues the way that TikTok can. Phones facing forward, eyes to their iPhone camera, when people record themselves talking about something for a minute or two and post it, there’s an inherent relaxed, easy framework in which they’re speaking that creates a sense of honest divulgence, and trust.

A potential sale to Meta could threaten the integrity of this trust, thus negating the app’s appeal – especially to the increasingly distrusting Gen Z’ers who dominate the platform.

The Atlantic argues that the TikTok sale is “the first step in a dangerous unwinding of a global, free internet,” adding:

“Some opponents of the TikTok bill argue instead that if the app is blocked in the U.S., that will restrict the free-speech rights of its users. The ACLU, for example, argues that a TikTok ban would be “a dangerous act of censorship on the free speech of so many Americans.””

In retaliation, TikTok is suing the US government to prevent the bill from passing into law. The case is ongoing, but one thing’s for sure: the tides of creative freedom and expression on the platform are subject to change imminently.

As I scrolled on TikTok last night before bed, I thought: “better enjoy it while I still can.”

And while we’re still here scrolling and swiping, make sure your brand is at the forefront of digital marketing today by having a strategic plan in place. That’s what we’re here for.


Q: Could TikTok ever get banned in Canada?

A: While the Canadian government has expressed similar concerns to the American government’s fears about privacy and data collection when it comes to the app, a ban is unlikely. TikTok Canada noted the damage that banning the app could have on content creators, freedom of expression and creativity on the platform. The app has been banned on government employee’s phones, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declaring that this “may be the only step we need to take.”

Q: What will change about TikTok when it’s sold to Meta?

A: It’s difficult to say exactly, but to distill the concerns of content creators and consumers, themes of stifled creativity and community have been strongly vocalized.

Q: What does this sale mean for brand marketing on the app?

A: A TikTok ban in the US could shift consumer engagement, impact influencer partnerships and more. It’s a good idea to invest in content across a multitude of platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn etc – just in case.