Here's What Happens to Your Account If TikTok Gets Banned

"This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators."

Brandon Charles - Author

Mar. 13 2024, Published 2:56 p.m. ET

The TikTok app on a smartphone with an American flag in the background
Source: Getty Images

Many users are concerned that TikTok may be no more. TikTok may be banned in the U.S. Well, that’s not entirely true. TikTok may be banned by Congress and President Biden said that he’ll sign the bill into law but the social media company will continue to exist.

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But if you’re using the app in the U.S., even if you’re using a VPN, you may not be using the app for very long. So, what’s going to happen to your TikTok account? Keep reading for all of the details.

TikTok in the App Store.
Source: Getty Images
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If TikTok is banned in the U.S., what happens to your account?

Since this scenario almost happened a year ago, LifeHacker published a helpful explainer on all the intricacies of shutting down a social media site. It isn't very complicated.

Nothing will happen to your account if TikTok gets banned. However, no one new will be able to download TikTok from the Apple Store, Google Play, or any other app store in the U.S. The app also won't be able to accept future updates, which will keep it frozen in time whenever the ban goes into effect. If the government decides to force internet service providers to block access to TikTok, fewer and fewer Americans will be able to access the social media app.

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If and when TikTok or any other social media app is banned, your account will exist, but you just won’t be able to access it and most people won’t be accessing the app either.

People supporting TikTok outside the U.S. Capitol Building on Mar. 13, 2024.
Source: Getty
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Wasn’t TikTok already banned in the U.S.?

On Mar. 13, 2024, the House of Representatives passed a bill forcing the divestment of TikTok from ByteDance. So it’s not exactly a ban. According to a statement TikTok gave to ABC News, the bill would be the end for the app in the States.

TikTok said, “This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States. The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression. This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country."

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If this all sounds familiar, it should. The U.S. almost banned the app in March 2023. Montana banned it in April 2023, but the law was overturned before it ever took effect.

Other countries have successfully banned the extremely popular social media app. TikTok was banned in India in 2020, Afghanistan in 2022, and Nepal in 2023. The app was also banned on government phones and devices in Taiwan and the U.S. in 2022, and Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and the European Union in 2023.

If TikTok is banned in the U.S., people will still be able to access it, but most won’t.

Like anything and everything else online, just because something is banned or blocked doesn’t mean you can’t access it. In a Mar. 17, 2023, CNBC piece, Vanderbilt Engineering Professor Douglas Schmidt explained how roadblocks alone may be the end of an app. “There will almost always be ways around this. It would just be a lot more difficult for the average person to do it without getting an advanced degree in computer security or something.”

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