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TikTok touts $24.2 billion impact to US GDP as platform faces potential ban

In Technology
April 04, 2024

TikTok released an economic impact report on Thursday touting the benefits of the controversial app in its latest public relations push to stave off efforts to ban the platform in the US.

Authored by Oxford Economics, the commissioned study claims TikTok drove $14.7 billion in revenue in a dozen key sectors in the US economy and contributed $24.2 billion to overall GDP in 2023.

“TikTok provides an opportunity for [small and medium-size businesses] to grow by allowing them to market themselves both organically and/or through investing in paid advertising and creator marketing,” the study said.

FILE - Devotees of TikTok, Mona Swain, center, and her sister, Rachel Swain, right, both of Atlanta, pose with a sign at the Capitol in Washington, March 13, 2024. TikTok's extensive lobbying campaign is the latest tech industry push since the House passed legislation that would ban the popular app if its China-based owner doesn't sell its stake. TikTok has been urging its users to call their representatives. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Devotees of TikTok, Mona Swain, center, and her sister, Rachel Swain, right, both of Atlanta, pose with a sign at the Capitol in Washington, March 13, 2024. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The data, first reported by the Washington Post, breaks down the impact of the app’s wide reach, which has grown to 170 million active users and more than 7 million businesses. The study was conducted by surveying 1,050 of those businesses and 7,500 TikTok users.

The report comes as the Senate considers a bill to force TikTok’s Chinese parent company Bytedance to divest its US assets. If enacted, the measure, which passed overwhelmingly in the House, would set a six-month deadline on the divestiture or else trigger a ban.

Lawmakers have long argued that the app’s Chinese ties pose a national security risk, though CEO Shou Zi Chew has adamantly denied any influence from the Chinese Communist Party in his congressional testimony.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, departs from the Russell Senate Office Building after meeting with Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) on March 14, 2024 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives voted to ban TikTok in the United States unless the Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance sells the popular video app within the next six months. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, departs from the Russell Senate Office Building after meeting with Sen. John Fetterman on March 14, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) (Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images)

In recent weeks, TikTok has focused its efforts on influencing the Senate vote as lawmakers have publicly expressed skepticism about the passage of the House bill in its current form.

The company recently launched a $2.1 million ad campaign opposing the measure, which reserved television ad space in five key battleground states where Democratic Senators are locked in tight reelection fights to win additional six-year terms.

The ad featured purported app users talking up the benefits of TikTok. “Think about the 5 million small business owners that rely on TikTok to provide for their families,” one user in the ad said.

Those in favor of an effective ban, including former Vice President Mike Pence, have countered with their own ad campaigns. Advancing American Freedom, Pence’s conservative advocacy group, is reportedly looking to spend $2 million on TV and digital ads in Nevada, Montana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., according to the National Review.

The economic report commissioned by TikTok analyzed the impact of the platform on 12 sectors and noted that 45% of those surveyed said that they attribute a “meaningful portion of their business’ success” to the company.

The largest impact has been seen in the food and beverages sector, the report said, where TikTok contributed $6.4 billion in revenue and created 73,000 jobs in 2023.

In all, the report claims the company helped create 224,000 jobs in the sectors featured.

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