TikTok Killed the Follower. Now Washington is Trying to Kill TikTok.

April 26, 2024

Creators deserve stability. This potential ban is also part of a larger, alarming pattern of volatility in the creator economy.

This week, Washington passed an ultimatum that may well lead to the complete ban of TikTok in the United States, or at the very least a forced sale to an uncertain buyer who could fundamentally change its DNA.

We’ve been critical of TikTok in the past over the impact its algorithmically-curated approach has had on creative community-building. The platform has leaned so hard into its For You page that the very idea of a follower is basically dead. And with it, the ability for creators to build connected, energized fandoms online has taken a huge hit.

But that doesn’t mean we’re celebrating this ban. There’s no denying that TikTok also does a hell of a lot of good. It gives creators access to potentially massive audiences that they never could have dreamed of reaching before. It has helped launch and sustain creative businesses all over the world. It has fostered an incredible culture of creative collaboration.

TikTok’s impact also extends far beyond the platform itself: it’s created an entire genre of short-form video and algorithmically curated feeds. Banning TikTok just serves to further entrench YouTube and Instagram as the dominant platforms in this industry. But more competition is good for creators–it gives them more leverage and ultimately more control over their businesses.

An outright TikTok ban, if it happened, would be devastating to a ton of creators who rely on this platform to sustain their income and livelihoods. We feel deeply for creators who are scared and uncertain about what this means for their businesses.

This potential ban is also part of a larger, alarming pattern of volatility in the creator economy. Instagram and YouTube changing to be more like TikTok, TikTok fighting to stay alive, Twitter becoming… whatever it is now. Sometimes it seems like these platforms are so interested in disruption that they lose sight of the fact that what creators really want is stability.

And creators deserve that stability. You deserve to own your relationship with your audience in a way that isn’t beholden to any one platform. You deserve to be able to make what excites you, without having to worry about feeding an unpredictable, ever-changing algorithm. You deserve a space where you can reach all of your fans with what you create. And you deserve a place to build a real, lasting, energized fan community – and business – around you and your work.

At Patreon, we continue to pour our hearts and souls into providing creators with that level of ownership, stability, and control. Because TikTok or no TikTok, the creator economy is here to stay, and we won’t stop working toward a world where professional creativity, and true fandom, is possible for all.