CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

TikTok US User Numbers Slow Amid Possible Ban

TikTok’s troubles apparently go beyond a possible ban in the U.S.

The social media platform has seen user growth slow for the first time in its history, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Sunday (March 17), citing sources familiar with the matter. 

That report lists a litany of headaches for the company, already dealing with legislation that would result in its ban or sale: Ad revenue that is reaching but not exceeding targets. Increased competition from Instagram’s Reels. And its eCommerce project has hit a sour note with some users by interrupting their video feeds.

“TikTok is and continues to be the premier platform for millions of users, creators and advertisers,” a spokesman for the company said.

However, sources tell WSJ that although TikTok is still attracting new users, the number of people leaving the app has increased to the point its American user numbers have stalled. In the past, TikTok had regularly brought on more users than it was losing.

The report also cites information from mobile analytics firm Data.ai showing that TikTok’s U.S. average monthly users age 18 to 24 fell by nearly 9% from 2022 to 2023, with some 20-something users saying they’ve abandoned the platform to focus more on work or life.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 352-65 last week in favor of a bill aimed at compelling ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok to divest its U.S. assets within six months.

Failure to adhere to the bill — which still needs the OK of the U.S. Senate — could lead to a ban on TikTok. That’s something for which opponents of the platform have been advocating for years, arguing that the company’s ownership was placing user data in the hands of China’s Communist Party (CCP).

“This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: it’s a ban,” TikTok said in a statement posted to X following the vote. “We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.”

As PYMNTS wrote last week, TikTok is also facing challenges in the European Union. The European Commission said in February that it has begun formal proceedings against the app under the Digital Services Act.