In addition to recreating TikTok’s algorithms, an American acquirer would additionally must work shortly to protect TikTok’s different worthwhile asset: its creator tradition. As my colleague Taylor Lorenz has written, TikTok is dwelling to a giant, vibrant group of artistic expertise, a few of whom make a full-time residing from the app. Those persons are drawn to TikTok partly as a result of the platform provides them a technique to attain a mass viewers. But they’re additionally drawn to it as a result of TikTok has cultivated an aura of cool by way of promoting, hanging partnerships with music festivals and different widespread occasions, and internet hosting unique events for TikTok creators at business occasions like VidCon.
Already, Facebook is reportedly attempting to poach widespread TikTok creators for Instagram Reels, its new TikTok clone, by dangling six-figure offers in entrance of them. And if TikTok is acquired by Microsoft — a firm not traditionally identified for its youth enchantment — creators might sense that it’s time to maneuver on.
TikTok might attempt to decrease the chance for an acquirer by hanging multiyear unique offers with its hottest American creators, the best way that platforms like YouTube and Twitch have executed. It might additionally speed up its plans to let widespread customers earn cash from the platform. But with out a agency grip on its A-list expertise, TikTok’s acquirer received’t be assured that the platform isn’t shedding its edge.
Hank Green, a YouTube star and chief government of the training firm Complexly, who has greater than 600,000 followers on TikTok, stated that a TikTok acquisition might make creators extra skeptical of the corporate’s motives.
“One of the things about TikTok is they’ve been able to make lots of changes really fast, and people are open and receptive to that,” Mr. Green stated. “If you see that change as coming from outside the ecosystem, that can feel like a foreign change.”
Many of the individuals I spoke to agreed that even with the potential pitfalls and unresolved questions, the chance to purchase TikTok is a once-in-a-decade deal for the proper acquirer. Popular, rising social networks are exceedingly uncommon, and TikTok has already made itself a fixture of American tradition in a means that few different apps ever have.
“TikTok is compelling, not just because of its large and growing user base, but also because of its platform potential to expand into e-commerce and livestreaming,” stated Connie Chan, a companion on the enterprise capital agency Andreessen Horowitz. “Video is a fantastic way to sell things and short videos are perfect for product discovery.”
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