How is Nigeria affected as US House passes bill that could ban Tiktok?


In early 2024, Universal Music Group, one of the big three record labels, terminated their contract with TikTok. Weeks later, the bill to ban TikTok in the United States seems like it would see the light of day.

The video-sharing social media app has been instrumental in the success of many songs around the world. Noteworthy to Nigeria are CKay's Love Nwantiti and Rema's Calm Down.

With Universal Music Group pulling their catalogue from TikTok, it appears Nigerian artists like Rema who has an active deal with UMG through Mavin Global, might not get another Calm Down considering how powerful TikTok has been to his career in the last few months.

However, the bill to ban TikTok in the United States poses a potential threat to pop culture and music marketing. This is because TikTok has over 150 million users from the United States.

But what is the "Tiktok Ban bill" all about?

The bill, officially titled the "Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act" (H.R. 7521), focuses on national security concerns. 

On Wednesday, March 13, 2024, the United States House voted 352-65 in favour of the bill, with strong support from Democrats and Republicans. They expressed anxieties that user data collected by TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, could pose a national security risk.

The proposed law would require ByteDance to divest its ownership of TikTok in the United States within six months. The app would be banned from operating in the country if a sale is not completed within that timeframe. 

This potential ban would affect the millions of Americans who use TikTok for entertainment and social connection. The bill is not limited to just TikTok but will apply to any app that is in the control of a "foreign adversary." The President can designate other social media apps as threats if they're under foreign control.

Furthermore, if ByteDance doesn't divest ownership within the deadline, the bill would make it illegal for app stores like Apple and Google to offer TikTok in the US. This effectively bans the app from being downloaded or updated on those platforms.

What does it mean for Nigerians?

For Nigerians, The US’s concerns about data security could lead to increased scrutiny of TikTok by the government. This might lead to stricter regulations or data privacy requirements for TikTok in Nigeria.

Also, if the US ban points to a change in TikTok's ownership or structure, it could affect future app updates or features for all users, including those in Nigeria. Overall, Nigerians can expect continued access to TikTok for now. However, the situation in the US could lead to a more cautious approach towards the app in the future.

Personally, there is speculation about how it will affect the operations of Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. Mainly, because they have their headquarters in New York, United States. Particularly for their affiliations with artists from Nigeria. Will artists like Joeboy, Ycee, Wizkid and even Davido be restricted from the app? Only time will tell.