If you keep an eye on the news, you may have seen headlines recently incorporating the words “TikTok Ban!”

This is referring to the fact that, as of today, some 19 of the 50 U.S. states have at least partially blocked access to TikTok on state government-managed devices, and a spending bill soon-to-be passed by Congress bans TikTok on devices issued by the federal government too.

These bans are being implemented over concerns the site, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., could be used by China to spy on Americans and censor/manipulate content, possibly pushing messages sympathetic to the Chinese communist party.

In response, ByteDance claims TikTok’s U.S. operations are maintained separately, although experts point out it’s difficult to determine if that’s true. Additionally, the app has said it will route 100% of U.S. user traffic to servers controlled by American company Oracle, and that it’s working to delete U.S. users' private data from its servers, transferring it to U.S.-hosted servers with backup in Singapore.

Currently, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is examining the issue, a process which began during the Trump administration. Theoretically this committee could set a wider TikTok ban in motion, force the app to be sold to an American company, or determine TikTok is satisfactorily ensuring the safety of U.S. users’ data.

In the meantime, it’s important to understand several things:
-the TikTok ban is limited to government devices and does not affect bridal shops
-everyone – including government employees – can access the app on their personal devices
-a wider ban is unlikely to occur, per experts, although it’s possible
-public perception of TikTok may alter if these headlines continue to dominate the news

In short, this is an issue worth keeping your eye on although not panicking about. Certainly, VOWS will continue to monitor the situation and update as to its impact on bridal retail as more details become known.

In the meantime, if TikTok works for your business and you’re comfortable using it, there’s no need to abandon ship.

It does, however, underscore the importance of general advice all boutiques should follow regardless: spread out your social-media influence among multiple sites so you aren’t overly dependent on any one of them.

No matter how popular, fun or fast-growing a site is, the bottom line is you don’t own or control it and it can be taken away at any time. It’s a good idea to have a presence on multiple sites (backed up by a thorough e-mail list!) so if one goes down, for whatever reason, you aren’t left in the cold.