TikTok ban could have negative impact on Central Florida small businesses

Starting Sunday, you can no longer download or get updates for the Chinese-owned app TikTok.

The government is also banning WeChat, another Chinese-owned app.

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The president said these companies pose a threat to national security because the Chinese government could demand information from them. Both collect user data.

TikTok has until November to sell its U.S. operations to a U.S. company if it wants to stay in business here. TikTok says that’s already in the works, but called the ban “disappointing” and vowed to fight it.

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“I did see TikTok is alleging that they have at least 1,500 employees in the U.S. who could be affected by this. So there could be employment issues that are brought up,” said constitutional attorney Mike Gagnon. He said the First Amendment and also the Fifth Amendment right to due process are other issues, too.

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TikTok is a hugely popular app where people can create and share videos, mostly for fun, but some Central Floridians use it to promote their small businesses. They hope the company can keep operating here.

“TikTok is what took my business off,” said Sylvette Escobar. She sells her handmade earrings and hair accessories through her company Blossoming Rose and Co. She says since debuting it on the app in March, she’s made $7,000 in sales.

Michael Mello is a local real estate agent who also started using TikTok for work.

“The last two months, I’ve had over a million dollars in sales just basically just from TikTok,” he said.