Honestly, it feels like such a long time ago that the US Government issued an Executive Order which called for the sale of TikTok to a US business, or it would face a full ban in the region. So much has happened since then, but going on the technical details of the initial EO, TikTok should have been either sold or banned in the US by now.
But it hasn’t been, and it isn’t.
After a range of court challenges and judgments, the timeline for the TikTok sell-off has been extended and changed multiple times, but the most recent, still standing deadline from the original Order stated that TikTok needed to be sold to a US company by December 4th, or it would be banned outright.
But that, of course, was last Friday, and TikTok is still here. Why is that?
According to The New York Times, the deadline for a TikTok sell-off has not been extended (again), but at the same time, the US Government has “no plans to take no immediate action in response to the lapsed cutoff”. Officials will reportedly allow the ongoing takeover discussions between TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, and its chosen suitors, in an Oracle/Walmart led consortium, to continue, with a view to a sell-off of the app in the near future.
But if that doesn’t happen, no one seems to be clear on what comes next.
As noted, various court challenges have found the basis of the original White House Executive Order to be inadequate, due to a lack of evidence to support claims of alleged spying, censorship, and more. Numerous concerns have been raised with respect to TikTok’s possible sharing of user data with the Chinese Government, but thus far, there’s no evidence to suggest that this has occurred, which is why the TikTok ban has not been enacted.
Instead, it’s been pushed out, with deadlines extended to resolve the situation amicably. But as more and more challenges have been heard and upheld – including one from a group of TikTok influencers who successfully argued that the ban would harm their livelihood – it’s become increasingly clear that the original EO will not stand, and that the US Government would need to either produce new evidence, or take an alternate approach, in order to impose sanctions on the app.
Which it could do, but that would require more direct action under the President’s national security powers, and with various other concerns weighing on his mind at present, it seems that TikTok is the least of President Trump’s considerations.
So, TikTok, as it currently stands, won’t be banned, even if it’s not sold off, but the negotiations over its sale to the Oracle/Walmart group are still ongoing. In theory, at least.
It actually seems like the negotiations may be on hold until the new President is sworn in, and if Biden doesn’t see TikTok as a significant threat, in the way that Trump did, it seems likely that the case will simply fade away.
Right now, there’s no impact – TikTok remains available, as normal, and remains under the ownership of ByteDance. Whether that will change in future, we don’t know, as there’s now no deadline for a sale, and no defined path for future action if it isn’t sold off.
By February, we should have a clearer view, but it seems likely that for all the discussion and debate, TikTok will continue on its march toward a billion users.
Pinterest Launches Pin Ads in Argentina, Colombia and Chile
As it continues to expand its ad offering, in order to maximize its business opportunities, Pinterest has today announced that Pin Ads will now be made available to all businesses in Argentina, Colombia and Chile.
As explained by Pinterest:
“Businesses of all sizes now have access to multiple types of ad formats and targeting options in Argentina, Colombia and Chile, to reach new audiences with meaningful, useful content as they discover ideas and plan new projects.”
Pinterest says that it recently launched its first ads with a small group of early partner brands in these regions, including Tiendas Paris and Publicis Groupe, which has paved the way for today’s full market expansion.
The announcement is the latest in Pinterest’s growing Latin American business push, with Pinterest Ads also made available in Brazil and Mexico last year. The app reaches around 80 million active users per month in the region – over 18% of its total user base – which represents significant opportunity, and highlights the expansion potential that Pinterest still has in this respect.
Further to this, Pinterest also launched ads in Japan just last month, enabling businesses to reach another 8.7 million active Pinners.
It’s somewhat surprising to consider the extended reach that Pinterest is still yet to achieve with its ads business, and how that could translate to more revenue for the company – and with the platform also warning of ongoing revenue pressures throughout 2022, and its overall user base in flux to some degree, it needs to tap into these expanded markets to boost its potential and showcases its value to investors.
Maybe that will be the remit of incoming Pin CEO Bill Ready, who took over from Ben Silbermann last week. The platform has been on a roller coaster ride throughout the pandemic, with usage reaching new highs, then normalizing once again, which has left many unsure what the future holds for the app. Ready, a former Google commerce chief, will now be tasked with stabilizing the ship, and maximizing performance – and you would assume that this would include a significant expansion of its ad business to facilitate more opportunity.
In selling its new Latin American expansion, Pinterest also reiterates that 97% of the top searches in the app are unbranded, and consist of 2-3 word queries, which makes Pinterest an effective tool to reach people while they’re still considering their next purchase.
“Pinterest is one of the rare platforms where it is truly possible for brands to engage with new customers who are intentional, open and making buying decisions.”
There is opportunity in Pins, for sure, and the addition of a Google insider should help to advance its discovery ambitions in this respect.
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