Casey Evertsen drove down a suburban Utah street lined with trash bins, speaking into his phone’s camera as he gave a tour of the brightly-colored truck he uses for his garbage can-cleaning business. “If you like seeing dirty stuff get cleaned and watching how cool stuff works, follow along,” he said in the video shared on TikTok. “Let’s clean some bins!”
Evertsen’s service, Bin Blasters, had for a whole year struggled to get traction through Facebook and Instagram. So taking a cue from his teenage daughter, he decided to try promoting it on TikTok instead. On his eighth video, just one month in, Evertsen “blew up.”
“I went out and just started cleaning bins that day, started on our route, and I look at my phone like an hour later, and there’s 17,000 views,” he recalled. “Then it just got in the millions.”
Evertsen rode the viral TikTok wave to grow Bin Blasters from a fledgling business into a large and lucrative operation spanning four states and a host of employees. His nine locations across Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois are supported today by franchise owners, truck drivers, customer service workers, a digital marketing agency, legal consultants and contractors focused on design and online strategy.
Next, as he continues posting daily to the video platform, he’s looking to bring on a CEO. “I went from being a guy that cleans garbage cans to a franchisor trying to figure out how to be a franchisor and growing this business,” he told Forbes. “TikTok changed it all.”
This TikTok success story is not unique to Evertsen; as the platform becomes an ever-more-powerful discovery engine and shopping hub, many of the app’s 150 million American users have used it to launch businesses and careers. The company says 5 million U.S. businesses use TikTok to reach customers. And some creators have themselves morphed into mini-industries supported by dozens—even hundreds—of staff, from managers, agents, lawyers and publicists down to editors, producers and assistants.
The $100 billion creator economy, and the supply chain of jobs that come with it, are staring down a potentially enormous upheaval as the Biden administration threatens to ban TikTok over national security concerns. The U.S. government has long feared that the wildly popular app, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, could be used by China to surveil and manipulate Americans.
Following three years of negotiations on a deal that would address those concerns, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has demanded that TikTok’s Chinese owner sell its stake in the platform—or face a ban.
Some lawmakers, meanwhile, are pushing to simply shut the app down. The House Foreign Affairs Committee this month voted to advance a Republican-led bill that would enable President Joe Biden to ban TikTok, and 18 senators—nine Democrats and nine Republicans—are also cosponsoring broader legislation giving the Department of Commerce the ability to ban communications technologies, including TikTok, built by foreign adversaries.
(The White House endorsed that proposal, the RESTRICT Act.) The leader of the House committee holding the first-ever congressional hearing with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Thursday also supports an outright ban.
But as the prospect of a ban intensifies, so too does the chorus of voices fighting against it. A former top intelligence official has warned a ban might be both politically unpopular and could fuel a geopolitical nightmare. Civil liberties activists have argued it would do more to silence Americans than protect them.
A new Forbes investigation on TikTok’s continued access to Indians’ data, even after their government banned the app in 2020, indicates that a U.S. ban could fail to address concerns about user data the company has already collected. Even a former TikTok employee who took his complaints about the company’s data security practices to Congress described a nationwide ban as unnecessary.
And people who’ve built their livelihoods around the app say the political crossfire has largely overlooked not only the opportunities afforded them because of TikTok, but also the sprawling ecosystem of businesses and jobs that exist because of it. (TikTok sent some creators to Capitol Hill this week to raise awareness about that.)
“There are so many other horrible things happening in the world right now, why are we talking about [a ban]? Why are we focusing on an app? I don’t understand.”……..TikTok creator Drew Afualo
“We have to have tough conversations on: Who is using it now? What kind of value does it bring to them? What does it mean if we just, like, rip it out of their hands?” Chew, the TikTok CEO, said in a recent interview.
- TikTok CEO faces off with US legislators in first public hearing Lawmakers turn up the heat on Tik Tok‘s CEO Shou Zi Chew in high-stakes hearing
Marketing Programs You May Like: