Instagram, YouTube the biggest likely winners of TikTok ban but smaller rivals could rise too (2024)

Adult U.S. TikTok users spend an average of 54 minutes on the app on any given day, more than Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube, according to research firm eMarketer. If TikTok were to disappear, those platforms — along with younger, smaller emerging rivals — would be scrambling for those valuable minutes of people’s attention.

But with an actual ban still likely years away, it’s not clear what app will be its biggest beneficiary. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, may see more advertisers amid uncertainty for its biggest rival, according to analysts who follow the company. Creators, dealing with uncertainty themselves are also expanding to other platforms if they weren’t already. But users, especially the younger ones who are TikTok’s bread and butter, are less predictable. Will they embrace Instagram, a possibly uncool mom favorite? Or could a newer app like Triller rise to viral fame?

Here’s a look at some notable TikTok alternatives and how they measure up.


Meta has a long tradition of cloning competitive services, with varying degrees of success. The Instagram “Story” feature, which lets people share photos and videos that expire in 24 hours, is similar to Snapchat. The company also launched a TikTok knockoff called Lasso in 2018 but closed that down in 2020.


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Then Instagram launched Reels 2020, a TikTok-like feed of short videos users can create or scroll through. It’s proven to be massively popular. Could it replace TikTok? That depends. While many creators post on both platforms, some experts say the youngest users are unlikely to migrate to a service made popular by their millennial parents. And while Meta’s algorithm is addictive, it’s still not TikTok.

“Replicating TikTok’s algorithm is a nearly impossible task, as rival Meta would attest to,” said eMarketer analyst Jasmine Enberg. “TikTok’s ability to serve up relevant and entertaining content to its users is unparalleled in the social media world.”


While TikTok gets more headlines, YouTube still dominates U.S. teens’ attention. Roughly nine in ten teens said they use YouTube, in a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, making it the most widely used platform among the 13-17 crowd. TikTok clocked in at 63%, Snapchat at 60% and Instagram at 59%. Its parent company Google launched YouTube Shorts in 2020, shortly after India banned TikTok.

YouTube users can scroll through Shorts just as they can on TikTok or Reels on Instagram and Facebook, watching hours of bite-sized videos. As with Reels, many of the videos featured are from TikTok or creators who post to several different platforms. That said, YouTube is still known for its longer-format videos, so it may not have the variety that TikTok users are looking for — at least not yet.


While older adults never quite got into Snapchat, launched in 2011 with its infamous disappearing videos, it remains popular among teens and younger adults. In addition to its disappearing video feature, the company launched Snapchat Spotlight in 2020 (yes, the same year India banned TikTok and former U.S. President Donald Trump was trying to in the U.S.). The feature can be accessed by pressing the sideways triangle icon at the bottom of your screen and, at least according to Snapchat, it “shines a light on the most entertaining Snaps, no matter who created them.”


If you’re sick of the establishment crowd, newer startups such as Triller offer possible alternatives, with TikTok-like features and more (or sometimes less). Triller, which is getting acquired by a Hong-Kong-based company, is popular for music videos and has tried to lure TikTok creators to its platform, but its user base lags far behind its bigger rivals and the content appears to offer less variety, at least for now.

Zigazoo, meanwhile, stands out from the crowd because it is created with kids in mind and shows kid-appropriate content, according to its creators. The nonprofit Common Sense Media says “Parents need to know that Zigazoo is a TikTok-style video sharing app for posting short videos of kids completing a variety of kid-appropriate challenges.”

“Zigazoo is meant to be used with a parent, and personal data is treated as though it’s from those over 13,” Common Sense says. “Challenges are simple investigative or creative projects like ‘Can you find something that’s symmetrical?’ or ‘Can you teach us how to play your favorite sport or physical activity?’”

But with a TikTok ban still uncertain, it’s possible that new, better rivals will crop up in the months and years ahead as ByteDance cycles through its legal options to keep the app operating in the U.S. And if not — users might consider those extra 54 minutes a day as a gift, for spending time away from screens, with friends, family, or curled up with a good book.

Instagram, YouTube the biggest likely winners of TikTok ban but smaller rivals could rise too (2024)


Who idea was it to ban TikTok? ›

The video-sharing platform had sparked concerns over potential user data collection and influence operations by the Chinese government. Previous efforts by the Trump administration to ban the app or force its sale were stopped by the courts and the Biden administration.

Who is pushing to ban TikTok? ›

Biden's campaign is making an unprecedented effort to court influencers, even though he signed a bill that could lead to TikTok vanishing in the US.

Who is the reason for TikTok ban? ›

July 2020. India bans TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps in response to a border clash with China. President Donald Trump says he is considering banning TikTok as retaliation for China's alleged mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the arguments against banning TikTok? ›

Arguments against banning TikTok

TikTok has denied that it's beholden to the Chinese government and has accused lawmakers who want to restrict it of trampling on citizens' free speech rights. TikTok has vowed to mount a legal challenge, calling the law "unconstitutional."

Which country banned TikTok first? ›

China's neighbor, India, was among the first countries to have placed restrictions on TikTok and other Chinese apps. India banned some 60 Chinese apps, including TikTok, during a military confrontation along the Himalayan border that it shares with China.

What will happen if TikTok is banned in the US? ›

TikTok, which is used by more than 170 million Americans, most likely won't disappear from your phone even if an eventual ban does take effect. But it would disappear from Apple and Google's app stores, which means users won't be able to download it.

Who has banned TikTok in the US? ›

U.S. authorities ordered government agencies to delete TikTok from federal devices and systems over data security concerns. More than half of the 50 U.S. states also have banned the app from official devices, as have Congress and the U.S. armed forces.

Who else has banned TikTok? ›

  • Afghanistan. In April 2022, a spokesman for the Taliban government stated that the app will be banned for 'misleading the younger generation' and that TikTok's content was 'not consistent with Islamic laws'.
  • Armenia. ...
  • Azerbaijan. ...
  • Bangladesh. ...
  • China (mainland) ...
  • India. ...
  • Indonesia. ...
  • Iran.

What is the new threat to ban TikTok? ›

Why is the US threatening to ban TikTok? US lawmakers and authorities are concerned that data from TikTok's 170 million US users could be accessed by the Chinese state under national security laws.

Is TikTok illegal in China? ›

ByteDance instead offers Chinese users Douyin, a similar video-sharing app that follows Beijing's strict censorship rules. TikTok also ceased operations in Hong Kong after a sweeping Chinese national security law took effect.

Is TikTok illegal? ›

United States. Congress and the armed forces have banned TikTok from all of their employees' devices. Approximately half of all states ban the app on state-owned devices, and the Federal government similarly banned the app from employees' devices in March 2023.

What country is TikTok from? ›

Government devices, including mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers, are not allowed to use Chinese-made software, which includes apps like TikTok, its Chinese equivalent Douyin, or Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle content app.

Why is TikTok banned in China? ›

Growing challenges for Chinese apps

US officials and legislators have long expressed concerns about TikTok's potential national security risks, including that it could share data with the Chinese government, or manipulate content displayed on the platform.

Why is TikTok being banned in the US? ›

A new US law put TikTok's parent, Chinese tech giant ByteDance, on a nine-month deadline to divest the hugely popular video platform or have it banned in the United States. US lawmakers argued that TikTok can be used by the Chinese government for espionage and propaganda as long as it is owned by ByteDance.

Why is TikTok so addictive? ›

What Makes TikTok Addictive? While all social media platforms now recommend content for users, this is the primary model of how TikTok works. The algorithm is designed to accurately predict which content you will prefer to engage with, creating a constant feedback loop of endless attractive content.

What is going on with TikTok? ›

On Wednesday, President Biden signed a bipartisan bill that could ultimately lead to a shutdown of TikTok. The new law is the culmination of increasingly frantic efforts by lawmakers to address security concerns about the Chinese-owned app.

Why did India ban TikTok? ›

In June 2020, TikTok users in India bid goodbye to the app, which is operated by Chinese internet firm ByteDance. New Delhi had suddenly banned the popular app, alongside dozens other Chinese apps, following a military clash along the India-China border.

Is it legal to use TikTok in India? ›

Because of the border battle with the Chinese navy, the Indian authorities banned the app in 2020. If you are in India or Pakistan, you will be unable to use the app. Using a VPN can get you past the ban placed by the country's ISP and use TikTok in India after ban.


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