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TikTok gave birth to a new pool of content creators in India, becoming a popular platform for people to express themselves in short-form videos. It took no time for the Chinese app to gain the attention of marketers as well. Not only did the platform helped content creators fetch fame, it also became an integral source of their earnings.

The world of content creators came tumbling down when the government announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, due to security and data privacy issues. These content creators not just earned money through an increase in popularity on the platform, many were also influencers, earning up to Rs 5 lakh for branded content posts.

Nikhil Gandhi

Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok India, said in a statement, "TikTok democratised the internet by making it available in 14 Indian languages, with hundreds of millions of users, artists, storytellers, educators and performers depending on it for their livelihood, many of whom are first-time internet users."

Ankit Agarwal

Ankit Agarwal, Founder, Do Your Thng, seconded Gandhi's statement. He said, "On the creator side, the impact will be more substantial and devastating. As Nikhil correctly points out, TikTok gave a voice to hundreds of creators generating vernacular content in India. While most creators are savvy enough to diversify to other platforms, there will be few who stand to lose their entire body of work."

Many creators had a large audience base only on TikTok. Based on that, they were being paid by brands for various influencer-marketing activities. Now they will be paid less for similar sponsored posts because of a smaller audience base on other social media platforms.

Pranay Swarup

Pranay Swarup, Co-Founder of Chtrbox, said, "A lot of TikTok influencers lost their equity overnight and left to build their presence in platforms which they never targeted their personas for. It also means a complete makeover of the influencer advertising system.”

Many content creators believe that a platform doesn't matter till the time they are creating genuine and authentic content. Also, there is no point crying over spilt milk and hence, they have already started shifting focus to other platforms.

"It will take some time for creators to build user base to the same extent again and understand the new emerging platforms, but as long as there are quality creators, there will be viable options for brand storytelling. We've always believed platforms can change, but people with influence will remain as a constant," Swarup said.

Honey Singh

Honey Singh, CEO and Co-Founder, #ARM Worldwide, said creators having large followings on other channels such as Instagram and YouTube might recover, but there will be a significant loss for them. "Anti-China sentiments have already started depleting the wallets of influencers. After the ban, all scheduled campaigns from brands are on a pause until further clarity from the government," he added.

Many popular creators have already started promoting their Instagram accounts and YouTube channels. Some creators shared snapshots of their TikTok accounts on their Instagram handles. The ban might increase the use of some Indian apps like Chingari by these TikTokers.

Shudeep Majumdar

Shudeep Majumdar, CEO and Director of Corporate Affairs, Zefmo, said, "The influencers who used to make an earning by being on Chinese apps have to quickly shift to other apps, and they need to rely on the tried and tested apps – Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It will be back to basics and building their following from scratch. The influencer community needs to align itself with the national interest and should not lose heart."

Irfan Khan

Irfan Khan, Partner at Yaap, said while these content creators will have to migrate to other platforms, brands will need to rethink their marketing strategy for tier 2-3 cities and rural India, for which they generally partnered with content creators on these platforms as part of their marketing outreach.

In the past, in many instances, TikTok had to fight legal battles, face the government and the audience's flak, but this time around, the stakes are really high and the chances of making a comeback look bleak.