The State of TikTok in the US 🧑‍⚖️

Unpacking the latest TikTok news

Good morning. Google is testing a Speaking Practice feature that will let users improve their conversational English skills via AI-generated voice and text exercises. Its avatar? A bear. Watch out, Duolingo.

TikTok Ban: The Next Steps

TikTok’s fate in the U.S. remains unclear / Illustration by Moy Zhong

On Wednesday, President Biden signed a bill into law that forces TikTok parent company ByteDance to sell TikTok within a year or face a ban in the US. So what happens next?

  1. TikTok is pledging to go to court. “Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere,” TikTok CEO Shou Chew said in a TikTok. “We are confident, and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts.” TikTok is arguing that the law is a violation of users' First Amendment right to free speech. 

  2. Could a buyer swoop in? Finding one who could afford the multi-billion dollar platform could prove difficult, experts say. So far, investors from Kevin O’Leary to Soulja Boy have thrown their hats in the ring.

  3. Beijing might resist and block the sale or export of the technology (requiring China-based ByteDance to obtain a license in order to sell TikTok’s algorithm), according to The New York Times.

So what are creators doing? Many are preparing for an uncertain future. TikTok comedian Joe Mele and film reviewer Supes said their thank yous and diverted fans to Instagram. Phil DeFranco plugged his new video platform, PhillyD TV.

And others are speaking out. V Spehar of UnderTheDeskNews said on TikTok that the current legislation is flimsy and likely to be taken down in court. Ecommerce exec Rishabh Jain said on X that India’s existing TikTok ban proves that creators can continue their careers by turning to other platforms.

What’s next: If TikTok does challenge the law in court, the nine-month countdown ByteDance was given to find a buyer will stop and the case would move to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. There’s potential one side could appeal to the Supreme Court, which could delay the bill for another year.

Kenny Beecham’s ESPN Podcast Debuts on Linear TV

The “Numbers on the Board” video podcast hosted by (from left to right) Darrick Miller, Pierre Andresen, Kenny Beecham, and Mike Heard, will air on TV / Awful Announcing

Basketball commentary creator Kenny Beecham’s Numbers on the Board video podcast premiered this week on ESPN2, where the show will now air an exclusive live episode on linear television (i.e. available through a satellite or cable network) every Tuesday.

“You hear about cord-cutting all of the time…[but] it’s such a big deal to go back to TV when you’re a digital-first property,” Beecham’s business partner Cody Hock told us.

Quick catch up: Beecham partnered with ESPN and Omaha Productions in January to revamp and distribute Numbers. With the deal, the audio-only version of the show started publishing to ESPN’s podcast library, while Beecham and his co-hosts launched a new YouTube channel to share full video episodes.

Three months later, Numbers is doing…numbers. Hock said that the YouTube channel is on pace to pass 100,000 subscribers by the end of April, and the show averages 26 million social views per month, according to Omaha Productions.

So why expand to linear? To a) create a brand moment and b) increase discovery of the show.

  • Numbers ran a hashtag challenge asking fans to tweet where they were watching the first ESPN2 episode on Tuesday.

  • Photos from sporting goods stores to college lectures started to flood in, leading #NumbersOnESPN to reach the No. 2 trending spot on X (formerly Twitter).

  • A second, YouTube-exclusive episode went out later in the day and quickly exceeded the show’s average viewership, Hock said.

Zoom out: While linear ratings for the ESPN2 premiere haven’t been revealed yet, Hock believes that the stickiness of Beecham’s community has impressed network executives—and directly translated to Numbers’ early success.

“You read the comments, and there’s so many [saying] ’I’m so proud of these guys…I’ve been watching for five or six years,’” Hock told us.

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MatPat Hosts First ‘Creators in Fashion’ Show

The first “Creators in Fashion” show shared old, new, and custom apparel collections from creators / The Style Theorists

Matthew “MatPat” Patrick may have retired from YouTube last month, but the Theorist Media co-founder returned to host The Style Theorist’s first “Creators in Fashion” show in Los Angeles yesterday.

“High fashion is one of those things that feels like you have to be a certain type of person…the goal of ‘Creators in Fashion' is to slowly break down that stigma,” Patrick said on the livestream, which appeared on The Style Theorist’s channel.

How it worked: Models walked the runway in collections from creators including ZHC, Yes Theory, and Cassey Ho, each of whom explained the inspiration and design behind their unique apparel lines.

Patrick ended the show by describing the collections on stage as “the future of fashion”—and teased a follow-up event in 2025.

🔥 Press Worthy

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The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.

  • Read: Playwright, author, and YouTube creator Justin Kuritzkes talks with Vulture about how tennis inspired his debut screenplay, Challengers (a Zendaya-led film out today). 

  • Watch: LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman is hosting a new series in which he interviews an AI version of…himself. Some things you just need to see to believe.

  • Listen: On The Lonely Island and Seth Meyers Podcast, the group talk through their most popular SNL digital shorts, including one of YouTube’s early viral hits, Lazy Sunday.

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