TikTok users are used to the app being under attack by lawmakers, but the threat of a complete ban by US President Donald Trump has left many in turmoil.

"I really hope this doesn't happen. All the videos, all the memories, this can't be true. I'm going to miss you all," Andra Gogan told her 5.2 million followers.

Trump has given TikTok's owner, Bytedance, six weeks to arrange a sale of its US operations to Microsoft or a face a ban- and said that his government wanted a financial benefit from the deal.

ByteDance confirmed yesterday that its operations in New Zealand were included in the deal.


A campaign called #SaveTikTok has since begun trending on the viral video after Michael Le (@JustMaiko), who has 35.7 million followers, sought to mount the resistance from within.

"2020 has had so many tragedies and TikTok has been one of the most positive outlets for us all," he said.

"Although it has had its flaws, this one app has created a community of people from all over the world that's been able to bring joy and inspire people. It has created so many careers, including mine, and it's been able to give me the opportunity to support my family and have my voice."

Le is one of thousands of users that have accrued massive followings on the app and are scarpering to protect their newfound income.

Cash cow for influencers

With 800 million users globally and 2 billion downloads, TikTok has garnered widespread appeal through its lip-syncing and dance videos and a formidable artificial intelligence algorithm that feeds fans an endless stream of short videos.

It has become a cash cow for influencers. Creators with more than 2 million followers are estimated to earn around £25,000 ($49,000) each year through brand deals. The highest-paid TikTok star is 15-year-old Charlie D'Amelio, with 74.8 million followers, who earns more than £37,000 per post.

Engagement rates on TikTok videos are much higher than those paid for on the likes of Instagram and Twitter, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub. The data analytics firm said that paid-for posts on the app with users that have more than 100,000 followers can result in almost five times more click-throughs than other social media sites.

This has led TikTokkers into a desperate push to get followers across to the "safer" sites like YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.


Max Beaumont, who built a following on TikTok documenting his journey of self-improvement, says TikToker success on other platforms isn't guaranteed.

TikTok has become "fundamentally an escape for a generation right now in isolation, especially, that needs it", he says.

"Just because you can have a massive following on something like TikTok doesn't necessarily translate over to YouTube or to Instagram or to some of these others."

Donald Trump has demanded that the US Government gets a financial benefit from the sale of TikTok. Photo / AP
Donald Trump has demanded that the US Government gets a financial benefit from the sale of TikTok. Photo / AP

Despite any potential ban lying solely at the door of US users for now, TikTokers outside of the US fear losing their new American friends.

Britain's Bobby Moore, who has accrued 5.1 million followers on informative videos, has encouraged his fans to port across just in case.

"You might have heard the news that TikTok could be getting banned and I wanted to say thank you to all those that have come along for the journey," he said on a video on the app.


"If we've managed to put a smile on your face or teach you something interesting you didn't already know, I don't want you to miss out on my content if it does get banned. So please take the time to subscribe to my YouTube and follow my Instagram."

Should a ban be introduced, the Trump administration may find it tricky to deal with industrious Gen Z users who have figured out workarounds.

Perhaps one of the most common will be the use of virtual private networks or "VPNs" where users can masquerade their location as though they're logging in from somewhere else.

VPNs are heralded for improving the security and privacy of web browsing, but they also offer the handy feature of getting around geolocation blocking.

But something as sophisticated as VPNs may not even be required.

TikTok has a loyal following around the globe. Photo / AP
TikTok has a loyal following around the globe. Photo / AP

American TikToker Carew Ellington, who has 429,000 followers, has encouraged users to change their "general language and region" settings to Canada, thus allowing them access to the app.


Others have taken to the news by speculating on the "real reason" for the threatened ban.

RJ Zabasky stated that "no other platform" would be able to affect Trump's rallies in the way TikTok had - citing the infamous claim that the app's users had tanked the President's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Zabasky said that TikTok's algorithm was "dangerous" to political figures as it got "real opinions out there".

Another mock election video for Democratic nominee Joe Biden pledged to allow users to keep their "Ticketee Tok" if they voted for him.

- Telegraph Media Group