By the Numbers: If TikTok is banned, this is where users say they’ll spend time instead

Plus how users expect the potential banning to impact their favorite creators.

What apps users might migrate to if TikTok is banned in the U.S.

The future of TikTok in the United States is uncertain — and with pending litigation, it seems likely to stay that way for years to come.

But many of us are still trying to gaze into the crystal ball and figure out what will happen if the app does disappear in the near future.

A new study from AI research company Vurvey might give us some insights into how consumers would adapt to a ban, how it might change their relationship with brands and what they’ll use instead of TikTok.

What, did you think people would stop scrolling and go outside? Cute.



Where people will migrate

It’s not surprising that the most popular social platform users said they would use instead of TikTok is Instagram (71% of users). The two have very similar video functionality with Instagram’s Reels, and TikTok has even recently been copying much of Instagram’s classic photo functionality. While the algorithms are different, the overall experiences are similar enough to make it a smooth transition, and many creators already have presences on both apps.

But you may be surprised to hear that the second-most likely app for a TikTok exodus isn’t YouTube, which also boasts a copycat video style called Shorts. YouTube was the third-most selected option (48% — users could choose more than one platform). Coming in second place, however, was Facebook (57%).

As usual, news of Facebook’s death has been greatly exaggerated. It may no longer be the cool, subversive site it once was, but it’s still used by 68% of all American adults — the second-most popular platform behind only YouTube. That’s far ahead of just 33% who use TikTok and 47% who use Instagram.

In addition to native video content, Reels are also crossposted to Facebook from Instagram, which is also owned by parent company Meta. So, when plotting a future Reels strategy, don’t forget that Facebook offers an opportunity to extend your reach greatly.

Other sites where users may spend more time if TikTok vanishes include X, Snapchat, Pinterest and Threads.

A tiny number said they’d use “none of these.”

Ability to connect to brands

Overall, consumers did not report concern that they would no longer be able to find and interact with brands on social media. Fifty-two percent of consumers say that the end of TikTok would have no impact on their ability to interact with brands, pointing to the proliferation of ways to connect with companies online — sometimes whether you want to or not. Another 43% said it would be a temporary inconvenience while they migrated to another platform. Just 6.5% indicated they would give up and stop interacting with brands altogether.

Good luck with that one.

One of TikTok’s most touted benefits is as a discoverability platform. And while most users (61%) said that a ban wouldn’t impact their ability to discover new brands, 39% said it would impact them “a lot.”

This certainly presents a challenge for brands looking to recreate audiences on other sites where it isn’t as easy to go massively viral with just one great video.

Concern for creators

Let’s be honest: most users won’t shed a tear for brands. Brands are largely seen as faceless companies. But many are concerned about the fate of creators. Many of the users featured in qualitative data understood that TikTok is a business and a massive source of income for creators and expressed worry about what this would mean for them and their livelihoods.

“For a lot of people, that’s their main source of income,” one respondent said. “And their brand was made from TikTok.”

“I’m giving them a fraction of a cent when I watch them, but when millions of people watch it, it definitely adds up for them,” another noted. “That being said, I also feel like they aren’t confined just to TikTok. So, if suddenly TikTok was gone, they’d find ways to post to other social media (apps).”

“Most content creators and influencers already have other means of streaming services, so I guess it would just be about getting the word out about where they’re moving,” one woman said.

The bottom line

While TikTok shutting down in the U.S. would undoubtedly be a seismic shift, it isn’t an apocalyptic one. Other services — either existing or new — will step in to fill in the vacuum, or potentially push us into the next wave of social media. Over the two decades since Facebook launched (yes, we’re all very old), we’ve moved from text-based, close friendship-driven social media to image-heavy, brand-driven communications to today’s video-and-influencer world.

It would be naïve to believe the TikTok era would last forever. That end might just be coming sooner than we anticipated.

Allison Carter is editor-in-chief of PR Daily. Follow her on or LinkedIn.


One Response to “By the Numbers: If TikTok is banned, this is where users say they’ll spend time instead”

    Jordan Payne says:

    The source of the data here is not clear; for this to be more meaningful, it would be great if you could add information like the survey size and demographic details or at least provide a link to the reference material instead of the vendor.

PR Daily News Feed

Sign up to receive the latest articles from PR Daily directly in your inbox.