TikTok Banned By The Canadian Government – What Does This Mean for Brands?

March 9, 2023


TikTok is back on the bureaucrats’ radar.

Over the last week, governments in Canada, the United States and the European Union have mandated that their officials delete TikTok from their government-issued devices and servers. A Canadian federal-level ban of this sort was enacted on February 28th, 2023. Similar provincial-level bans quickly followed in most Canadian provinces. 

These bans were put in place due to an apparent concern about TikTok’s parent company ByteDance handing over user information to the Chinese government; which owns a 1% stake in the company.

These allegations have been used for many years as a justification for attempted bans of the app, though none of these allegations have yet been proven true. An attempted total ban of the app by Donald Trump was struck down by U.S. courts in 2020; calling it “arbitrary and capricious”.

All social media apps are known to collect large amounts of information about their users. The only real difference with TikTok is that the app’s parent company is based in China. However, all American and Canadian TikTok user data is stored on servers in Virginia and in Singapore. TikTok maintains that this data cannot be accessed by anyone within China.

Nonetheless, many of our clients and brands in Canada have been caught off-guard by these recent changes. We would like to address the implications of these bans and discuss what we think this means for the future of TikTok. 

What’s next for brands on TikTok?

In short, we do not see these bans affecting everyday users of the app here in Canada or abroad. These bans were put in place in an attempt to protect government hardware that could possibly contain sensitive information. 

Governmental workers are still completely free to continue using the app on their personal devices. Meaning that we are unlikely to see many, if any, users actually leave the platform because of these bans. 

As a digital marketing agency, we stay ahead of the curve when it comes to all things social media. We are confident that users and brands alike do not need to worry when it comes to possible outright bans of TikTok. We also do not foresee these latest changes as having any impact on the app or its ability to be a powerful social media marketing tool.

Recent developments have meant that 60-second videos created for TikTok can be quickly and easily cross-posted to YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, and even LinkedIn, providing greater reach across all platforms using a single asset. We believe that if your brand is not using short-form video in some capacity, you are wasting a massive opportunity to reach and engage with current customers and new audiences alike.

Even in the extremely unlikely event of a full-on ban, we do not foresee any decline in the dominance of short-form video on all social media platforms in 2023 and beyond. We believe it will only continue to evolve and revolutionize the way brands engage with their customers.

To Conclude

It pays to be ahead of the competition and we believe TikTok is still the most important social media platform right now. The app has essentially become the de facto search engine of choice among Gen-Z’s. Particularly for young people, TikTok and short-form video have come to define how they interact with each other, the world and the brands they love.

TikTok truly is a behemoth of social media. We are confident that its 1 billion active users will not be discouraged by this relatively harmless bureaucratic decision and that the platform will continue to grow and thrive in the coming years.

See you on the FYP! 

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Andrew Johnson

President and co-founder of Dreww.