As U.S. lawmakers weigh a possible TikTok ban, the short video app owned by ByteDance released an economic impact report on Thursday. In it, the company claimed that the platform generated $14.7 billion in revenue for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) last year, adding another $24.2 billion to total economic activity, supported by the use of TikTok by small businesses.

Additionally, the report states that more than 7 million U.S. businesses rely on TikTok, and small business activity on the platform supported 224,000 jobs in 2023. Of these, 98,000 jobs are within small and medium-sized businesses directly supported by TikTok. States most affected include California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois.

The research was conducted by economic forecasting group Oxford Economics. It measured SMB activity, ad spend and return on investment on TikTok, drawing on census data and other measurements to draw its conclusions.

While a report of this size and scope couldn’t have been completed overnight, the timing of its release may not be a coincidence.

In March, the House of Representatives passed a bill that could ban TikTok. President Biden has said he will sign the bill into law if it also passes the Senate. TikTok is concerned that despite former President Trump changing his stance on the matter, the bill received bipartisan support and passed the House in a 362-65 vote. The Trump administration had previously tried to ban TikTok, saying it posed a national security risk, but Trump now opposes a ban, saying Meta would benefit.

Meta is clearly preparing for a future where TikTok could be banned, if not spun off from ByteDance. On Wednesday, Facebook updated to support a new video player on its social network; it will recommend Reels, long-form videos, and live videos, but in a vertical format by default, just like TikTok.

If TikTok is banned, YouTube and other short-form video platforms may also gain more exposure, potentially paving the way for startups to compete in the space.

TikTok’s economic report is an apparent attempt to make a case for why the app should be allowed to continue operating, noting that $5.3 billion in tax revenue last year was supported by small business activity on TikTok, including as a marketing and advertising platform.

The company also provides various case studies where business owners claim TikTok helps drive sales, website traffic and other forms of additional revenue.

Tying the ban to the app’s economic impact is a solid PR strategy — especially considering a group of TikTok creators had a judge successfully block Trump’s TikTok ban in 2020, saying it would impact their career opportunities , such as brand sponsorships, and the ability to create opportunities. income.

While TikTok has been urging users via in-app messages to call Congress to protest the ban, the bill still faces a more difficult path through the Senate — especially now that the Republican leader has reversed his stance on the ban.

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