What’s the latest digital marketing news for August? TikTok faces a ban after releasing TikTok for Business, Microsoft looked to get in on social media, Instagram rolled out Reels, and Facebook brushed off the month-long ads boycott.
Trump looks to ban TikTok
By now you’ve probably heard that President Trump is pushing to ban TikTok in the United States because of a potential security threat. While a ban is unlikely to happen, this news obviously impacts TikTok’s potential as an ad platform. Not only could users be scared off, but companies are now faced with choosing whether or not they want to be associated with a “threat to national security”. This narrative, of course, is based on TikTok’s Chinese ownership and the fear that the Chinese government could use the application to manipulate the masses, assert social control through misinformation, and mishandle user’s personal information.
Microsoft emerged as a front-runner to acquire TikTok
Another reason why TikTok will likely avoid an American ban is that Microsoft is currently in talks of acquiring its operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. While this would be Microsoft’s first big social media swing, there’s no reason to believe they’d handle personal data or censorship any better than Facebook, who has essentially manipulated the masses, spread misinformation, and mishandled user information for years already.
Instagram debuted Reels
Speaking of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg along with the leaders of Google, Apple, and Amazon were called to Capitol Hill to answer questions on their market dominance and business practices. In a particularly funny clip, Zuckerberg is pressed on Facebook’s history of stealing ideas from competitors in order to snuff them out. While he was unable to give a straight answer during the interrogation, Instagram all but answered the question days later by unveiling Reels, a new video fool that looks a lot like TikTok.
While Reels doesn’t offer anything new, it does offer companies a second chance. For businesses who missed the boat on TikTok, Reels presents the opportunity to get in on video before the community is established or saturated. While businesses will need to wait a while before targeted ads are available, there’s no stopping them from experimenting with organic posts while the platform is fresh.
Facebook brushed off the ads boycott
While the #StopHateForProfit boycott of Facebook ads came to a close on July 31st, some companies like Coca-Cola and Ben and Jerry’s pledged to continue until the end of the year. It’s a nice sentiment, but it seems empty after you realize these same companies have been posting organic content to Facebook throughout the boycott. If nothing else, this speaks to businesses’ dependence on social media, which is likely why Facebook’s July ad revenue was in line with the rest of 2020. In short, the boycott did nothing but give companies a little CSR boost.