Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (2024)

As a TikTok ban gets closer to becoming a reality in the United States, it might be time to start thinking about other platforms to adopt early in case you need to fill the void left by the popular app, especially as recent reports have suggested that ByteDance would prefer to shut down TikTok rather than sell it.

On April 24, President Biden signed a bill that would ban TikTok if its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, fails to sell the app within a year, bringing the possibility of a TikTok ban closer than ever before. However, given the one-year timeline, TikTok isn’t going to vanish immediately, especially since the company has vowed to fight the bill in court.

If the company is unable to fight the legislation and its legal efforts fail, reports indicate that a sale of TikTok with its algoritms would be highly unlikely because the app’s algorithms are core to ByteDance’s overall operations.

Given the increased possibility of a ban at some point in the future, it’s not too early to start considering other platforms. While there’s no 1:1 TikTok replacement, there are some viable options to consider that offer a similar experience. Many companies have spent the last few years building out TikTok clones within their own products, and some of them are worth considering.

Instagram Reels

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (1)

Instagram’s Reels product is arguably the most popular TikTok clone, and with good reason. Many of the videos are the same, as creators often share the same content that they post on TikTok to Instagram Reels. Plus, a lot of the trending sounds and topics on TikTok eventually make their way over to Instagram Reels. Because a lot of the content is the same, Instagram Reels might be the best option for a TikTok alternative.

However, given that TikTok’s algorithm is largely unmatched, Instagram Reels might not be able to surface videos you’re interested in on the same level that TikTok can. But Instagram has been enhancing the Reels recommendation algorithm, so we can probably expect it to get better over time.

If you’re someone who uses TikTok as a sort of search engine to find places to explore or eat around you, Reels might be the best alternative for you because the feed features a “Nearby” tab that surfaces content related to your geographic location.

If a TikTok ban becomes a reality, Instagram Reels will likely become the most popular home for short-form video content because it already largely dominates the social media landscape, which is why you might want to check it out and get used to it if you haven’t already.

YouTube Shorts

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (2)

YouTube is another platform that has been building out a TikTok-like product. YouTube Shorts might be the best TikTok alternative for you if you’re someone who likes to find new music on TikTok, given that YouTube Shorts has access to YouTube’s vast library of songs and music videos, something that TikTok no longer has due to its spat with Universal Music Group.

YouTube Shorts also has an advantage that other services on this list don’t, which is an integration with a popular long-form video content platform. Millions of people around the world already go to YouTube every day to watch content, so if TikTok were to get banned, YouTube has the potential to become the go-to place for short-form content as well, especially if popular TikTok creators choose it as the new home of their content.

Unfortunately, the content on YouTube Shorts often isn’t as engaging as it can be on platforms like TikTok or Instagram Reels, as it sometimes features content that has been reposted from longer YouTube videos. Still, you could search for content that you want to see and find videos based on hashtags or keywords.

Snapchat Spotlight

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (3)

Snapchat’s Spotlight feed is another viable TikTok alternative if you’re looking for short and entertaining content. Unlike TikTok and Instagram Reels, Spotlight generally only surfaces funny and lighthearted videos. You likely won’t find political or news content on the feed, which could be a selling point for some users.

Spotlight features a trending section where you can watch popular videos based on different topics and songs that are having a moment. Similar to TikTok and Instagram Reels, you can search for content based on keywords and hashtags.

However, one of the biggest cons when it comes to Snapchat Spotlight is that it has struggled to go beyond its younger users. Given that adults are more likely to use a platform like TikTok or Instagram Reels, you might not find the content on Spotlight as engaging because it mostly caters to younger audiences.

Unfortunately, the comments section on Spotlight videos isn’t as great as it is on platforms like TikTok or Instagram Reels, where sometimes the top comments can be more entertaining than the video itself.

Fanbase

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (4)

Fanbase is a subscription-based social network that is essentially a combination of TikTok, Instagram, Patreon, Clubhouse, and Snapchat. The app features short-form videos, images, long-form videos, Stories, livestreams, and audio rooms. While the app is free to use, you can pay a subscription to get access to exclusive content.

What makes Fanbase a possible alternative to TikTok is the app’s “Flickz” feed. Like TikTok, Flickz includes a feed for discovery and another feed dedicated to content from creators you follow. You can find all sorts of content on Fanbase, including videos on sports, cooking, music, humor, and more.

The app was founded with the mission of valuing and platforming Black creators, whose content is often appropriated or undervalued on traditional social media platforms. Fanbase is an ad-free platform that promises to never shadowban or suppress content.

Zigazoo

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (5)

Zigazoo is a relatively new short-form video platform aimed at young users and could be a good TikTok alternative for kids and teens. The app features lighthearted and playful videos and is considered a safer alternative to TikTok, as it doesn’t have a comments feature and has strict moderation policies.

The app lets users browse through or create short videos based on challenges or educational prompts. Zigazoo also features fun dancing videos, which is one of TikTok’s most popular content categories. Like TikTok and Instagram Reels, the app includes different effects, sounds, and filters for video.

The platform is poised for success, as it has raised a total of $20 million from notable investors like Jimmy Kimmel, Serena Williams, TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, and the NBA.

While the app isn’t a TikTok replacement for adults, it’s a great alternative for younger users, especially those with parents who are concerned about TikTok’s potential harm to kids and teens.

Reddit

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (6)

Reddit might not be the first platform you think of when considering TikTok alternatives, but the app’s video feed is worth checking out, especially if you already frequent the app. The platform offers a video feed that features popular short-form content that you can swipe through. There’s also a comment section that you can access by swiping up.

It’s worth noting that the content in the feed is somewhat different from the videos you see on TikTok. While TikTok often shows you content directly from creators, Reddit’s video feed often surfaces reposted viral videos that people have been discussing.

If you’re someone who mainly goes to TikTok for viral, funny videos, then Reddit’s video feed might be a good place for you to get your short-form video fix.

LinkedIn

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (7)

You might be wondering why LinkedIn is on this list, but hear me out. TechCrunch reported last month that LinkedIn is testing a new TikTok-like video feed in its app. The feed features content about news events, politics, career growth, office humor, professionalism, and more. If you’re someone whose TikTok “For You” feed often includes content like this, then LinkedIn’s TikTok clone could be a viable alternative for you.

Since the feed is still pretty new, LinkedIn has the potential to build out a viable TikTok alternative for adults. There’s already chatter about how LinkedIn has been able to compete with X (following the chaos after Musk purchased it), so there’s potential for LinkedIn to take on TikTok as well. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Vine

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (8)

Now, before you get too excited, no, Vine isn’t back.

However, X owner Elon Musk has teased the return of Vine since he purchased the social network formerly known as Twitter. On one occasion, Elon asked his followers if he should bring back Vine. In another instance, he responded “Very well” to a tweet calling for the return of Vine.

As a refresher: Vine was incredibly popular in the early- to mid-2010s but was shut down in 2017 after Twitter purchased it. The move was quite controversial, and since then, many popular Vine creators have moved to TikTok or YouTube.

If TikTok were to get banned, it would make sense for Musk and X Corp to bring back Vine and capitalize on the loss of TikTok. Given that Vine is largely credited for the emergence of short-form videos, the app would have the potential to make a great comeback.

Of course, there’s the question of whether the app would stick to its original seven-second limit. It’s been years since Vine popularized the short-form video format, and people’s appetites for content have gone beyond seven seconds, as TikTok and Instagram Reels let you post longer videos. Regardless of what a relaunch would look like, I think it’s safe to say that people would be interested, especially if TikTok was no longer a player in the short-form video market.

Is TikTok getting banned? Not yet, but you should explore alternatives | TechCrunch (2024)
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