TikTok Planning Massive Layoffs Impacting Marketing & Operations — As Clock Keeps Ticking on US Ban

TikTok layoffs
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TikTok layoffs
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Photo Credit: Collabstr

TikTok plans a massive spate of layoffs that will impact its 1,000+ strong team of global employees in its marketing and operations divisions.

The downsizing comes less than a month after President Joe Biden signed a law that bans TikTok in the United States unless Chinese company ByteDance completely divests from the social media platform. ByteDance has sued the United States government in response, arguing that the ban violates the First Amendment rights of people in the country. ByteDance has argued against the sale—saying it has no plans to sell the algorithm that gives TikTok its ‘special sauce.’

Unidentified sources speaking to The Information said cuts would be made in the content and marketing teams, with notifications sent out Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. As part of the move, TikTok is also disbanding its global user operations team, which handles support and user communications on the platform. TikTok has around 7,000 U.S.-based employees according to numbers posted in 2023.

The United States is TikTok’s largest market, with around 80% of its $20 billion in revenue for 2023 coming from the region. Back in January 2024, TikTok cut around 60 workers from its sales and advertising teams—so this is the largest layoff announced this year at the company. Team members who are not laid off will join other teams under the TikTok umbrella. So far, ByteDance has not responded to any request for comment about the rumored layoffs.

How the TikTok ban plays out over the course of the next year will be interesting to behold. The law signed by President Biden would force TikTok to shut down in the country by January 19, 2025 should ByteDance not divest itself. But TikTok is eager to put up a fight.

“For the first time in history, Congress has enacted a law that subjects a single, named speech platform to a permanent, nationwide ban, and bars every American from participating in a unique online community with more than one billion people worldwide,” the lawsuit filed by TikTok states.

“Even the statement by individual members of Congress and a Congressional committee report merely indicate concern about the hypothetical possibility that TikTok could be misused in the future, without citing specific evidence—even though the platform has operated prominently in the United States since it was first launched in 2017.”

TikTok is asking the court for a judgment that says the Biden administration law violates the U.S. Constitution—but it is also seeking an order preventing the attorney general from enforcing the law. TikTok has been caught accessing users’ clipboards, while ByteDance engineers have had unlimited access to American data.