Artists Expressed Concerns on Banning TikTok in the U.S.

Artists on TikTok Expressed Concerns and Criticism Towards U.S. Lawmakers Who Passed the Bill on Banning the App.

Mar 17, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Participants hold signs in support of TikTok outside the U.S. Capitol Building on March 13, 2024 in Washington, DC. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.


Artists on TikTok expressed concerns and criticism towards U.S. lawmakers. This happened after the U.S. House of Representatives enacted legislation that might force the sale or prohibition of TikTok in the United States. The bill became fast expedited in the lower chamber of Congress.  Also, passed by a vote of 352 to 65, suggesting widespread bipartisan support for the proposal.


Criticism Towards Both Parties

US President Joe Biden. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)


President Joe Biden stated he will sign the legislation into existence, if it succeeds in the United States Senate. The upper chamber indicated it will be prudent during its deliberations. If the bill enters law, ByteDance, the Chinese company behind TikTok, will be obliged to market the app by September. This is just two months before the 2024 presidential election.


Both main parties received severe criticism on the platform. Political experts also highlighted that legislators endorsed the bill during an election year, stating that TikTok presents a threat to national security as outsiders attempt to affect US elections. Many artists on the app warn that if the measure passes, it will harm their perception of politicians—and their careers. For example, there is a 19-year-old artist Camila Salinas. Many know her for her hyperrealist artworks, with 850,700 followers on TikTok.


US President Joe Biden signs a proclamation to establish the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Illinois and Mississippi. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)


She said a ban would make her question the politicians who supported it, “especially because of the entire timing of it with the upcoming presidential election this year”. “The biggest thing I worry about with TikTok’s sale is the shift from the global perspective that we get to hear from and add to as it currently stands right now”, added Vita Kari, a performance artist with over a million followers on the platform. Salinas also believes that if artists can learn to work with TikTok’s short-form video order, they would be able to advertise their work much more easily.

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A Global TikTok Ban Movement?

Shirley Chisolm monument. Courtesy Olalekan Jeyifous and Amanda Williams


Kari stated that the art world, as well as their practice, would continue to exist without TikTok. However, they thanked TikTok for giving them the opportunity to explore with digital performance art and conceptual pieces.  They also stated that many of their followers may never have a chance to visit a gallery where they may be presenting.


“While I understand concerns of data privacy and geopolitical tensions, I would be super disappointed to see the global interconnectedness of how the platform functions today change. I worry that shift would significantly affect organic viewership and community building around diverse content/global voices”, Kari said. Even artists from outside the United States voiced concern that a TikTok ban or sale may harm their careers.


The famous scales of justice and a judge’s gavel in front of an American flag, representing the US criminal justice system. Source: The Society for the Blind.


For example, Canadian artist Matt Chessco, who has roughly 3 million followers on the platform, stated that the U.S. accounts for 35 percent of his views, as well as the majority of his sponsorship deals and earnings. “If TikTok were to be banned in the United States, I’m scared it will create a TikTok ban movement that will spread globally and especially to Canada”, he said.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.