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TikTok is Banned in over 30 US states: Here’s What That Means for Tourism Marketing

TikTok ban in the US? Here’s what you need to know as of April 29th, 2024:

Legal and Operational Challenges: CNN reported on April 24, 2024 that President Joe Biden has signed a bill that could lead to the U.S. banning TikTok as early as January 2025. TikTok’s CEO Shou Chew has responded saying that TikTok will threaten legal action, citing potential First Amendment challenges.

Timelines: TikTok will have until January 19, 2025 to divest from the Chinese-owned company ByteDance, with the possibility of a 90-day extension. If a sale isn’t made, TikTok will face a full ban from app stores and websites in the U.S. As Al Jazeera reports, “A sale in that amount of time is possible, but the timeline would be tight for such a large acquisition.” If TikTok challenges the court, there’s also a possibility that this bill could be temporarily blocked for a few years as the legal battle ensues.

Security Concerns: The administration and critics worry that TikTok could compromise U.S. data privacy due to strict Chinese privacy laws affecting ByteDance. TikTok has repeatedly denied claims that they share user data with the Chinese government.

Sale and Future Implications: There’s a chance that the Chinese government could block ByteDance from selling TikTok altogether, or allow its forced sale but without its game-changing algorithm. A day after the bill was signed, ByteDance said that they have no intention of selling the company. No matter the outcome, this news could significantly alter TikTok’s operations in the U.S. and influence other countries’ policies on foreign tech companies.

While the threat of a TikTok ban has come up numerous times over the past few years, this is the fastest and furthest it’s progressed through Congress. We have some recommendations below on what you can do in the meantime — and remember: keep calm and post on, as this story is still unfolding and nothing’s official yet!


Over 30 states have banned TikTok from state-issued devices. The restrictions are part of a growing movement to rein in the popular platform and, as a result, has cast the future of state tourism marketing on TikTok into uncertainty.

Social media has always evolved quickly and destination marketers are no strangers to adapting to ongoing changes. While many DMOs have only just started to get the hang of marketing their destination on TikTok, it seems like it may be over before it even really got started.

In a survey of 950 CrowdRiff customers, 42% have a destination TikTok account. Just 17% of those active accounts post at least weekly. Compared to widespread activities on Instagram, it’s clear that DMOs are only just starting to scratch the surface of the marketing possibilities of TikTok.

The app might be under scrutiny, but there are still ways for affected DMOs to harness the power of TikTok and the popularity of the short-form video format. Here’s what you need to know about the TikTok ban.

TikTok bans are gaining momentum

The pressure driving the ban stems from security and privacy concerns. There have been rumbles of a TikTok ban since 2020, but towards the end of 2022 state lawmakers started to take more decisive action.

The list of banned states includes states such as Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, Texas, Maryland, Montana, South Dakota, South Carolina, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia, and this will only continue to grow.

The US government has also approved a ban on TikTok on federal government devices throughout all 50 states as part of a spending bill passed by Congress in late December. Another proposal seeks to ban the app altogether in the US.

This flurry of action against TikTok has wide and varied impacts for DMOs. For some, the ban could mean that other state tourism agencies may need to delete their TikTok accounts to comply with state executive orders.

Importantly though, the ban won’t disrupt normal users. TikTok will likely only continue to grow in popularity and reach.

What TikTok restrictions mean for state tourism marketing

In states where TikTok has been banned, tourism offices are cutting back on the time and budget invested in TikTok, if they haven’t already exited the platform.

South Dakota deleted their account with 61,200 followers. Others are redirecting budgets. And for DMOs that don’t already have a channel, the ban seems like a strong deterrent to starting one.

But given the heft of the short-form video platform, it’s worth weighing up how to balance marketing potential with the restrictions.

Here are a few key stats:

  • TikTok has surpassed Google and Facebook as the world’s most popular web domain

  • The juggernaut media platform has been downloaded more than three billion times worldwide

  • According to statistics from Insider Intelligence, TikTok eclipsed every other major social media platform in time spent by adult users in the US in 2022

  • TikTok saw an average watch time of 45.8 minutes per day

  • The second closest, YouTube, came in at 45.6 minutes per day

So, where does this leave DMOs in affected states? For now, remember, the ban applies only to devices issued by the state. Whether this means DMOs need to remove their accounts remains to be seen. You could continue to publish content to your TikTok account until there are clearer directives.

Whether in an affected state or not, the bans probably mean you’re reassessing how much content you should create. If this is the case, we have some tips:

Where budget allows, continuing to invest in producing content is a smart move. The beauty of TikTok’s sweeping influence is that user expectations have changed across platforms. Vertical videos are becoming a core element of search behavior and social media consumption. If a ban does eventuate in your state, you can repurpose existing content designed for TikTok on other channels.

TikTok isn’t the only place where short-form video thrives

Video content you have already, or have in the pipeline, is still relevant to your social media strategy regardless of whether you can publish it to TikTok. Short-form videos can be used across multiple social channels, websites, and search results such as YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels and Google’s Web Stories.

Major social media platforms are embracing short-form video, as giants Google and Meta look to compete with the attention-grabbing TikTok. YouTube Shorts first launched in India in 2020, after the country permanently banned TikTok. After being rolled out globally in July 2021, Youtube Shorts now gets more than 30 billion daily views, according to data from the company.

Meanwhile, Instagram introduced Reels in 2020. By the end of that year, 87% of Gen Z TikTok users agreed that Reels are “basically the same as TikTok.”

So, while TikTok may be the instigator of the short-form video trend, it is by no means the only place people look to watch video media.

Even if the TikTok ban puts an end to state tourism marketing on TikTok, innovations like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts will continue to play a role in connecting and inspiring travelers online.

As for creating all the short-form video content you need to keep your audience engaged – we’ve got just the thing.

CrowdRiff Creators helps DMOs scale their short-form video output by handling everything from sourcing, onboarding, managing, and compensating creators. And instead of big-name influencers, we work with locals who truly know your destination which makes travelers trust their work.

Also, we deliver the short-form video assets in a way that lets you repurpose them on channels like Reels, TikTok, Shorts so you can reach even more travelers. If you want to learn more, check out our eBook for everything you need to know.