TikTok planning global layoffs after US signs ban into law

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TikTok is reportedly set to conduct a round of global layoffs across its operations and marketing teams.
The TikTok logo is seen in this photo illustration on 31 March, 2023 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The ByteDance-owned social media company, which has roughly 38,000 staff members worldwide, will conduct a “large” round of layoffs, as first reported by The Information on Wednesday.

TikTok will completely disband its global operations team, meaning the cuts will affect teams that handle user support and communications as well as content and marketing, reports say. Though TikTok did not respond to a request for comment about the layoffs – and whether they would affect its Australian workforce – about 1,000 staff are expected to be impacted.

Employees have told media outlets they would receive layoff notifications imminently.

The news comes after President Biden signed a bill (on April 24th) to ban TikTok in the US, if ByteDance didn’t sell the platform off to an American owner. ByteDance had 9 months from that date to divest from the app, with a potential three-month extension if the President was satisfied with its progress. (Australia has said it has no plans to ban TikTok in the country).

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But earlier this month, TikTok filed a lawsuit, saying the law was a violation of its own First Amendment rights, as well as the free speech rights of 170 million Americans.

“There are good reasons why Congress has never before enacted a law like this,” the companies’ attorneys from Mayer Brown and Covington & Burling wrote in a 67-page complaint. “Congress has never before crafted a two-tiered speech regime with one set of rules for one named platform, and another set of rules for everyone else.”

TikTok last cut about 60 jobs in January as part of what it called a “routine reorganisation”, affecting staff in sales and advertising across the United States. That was part of a wave of tech layoffs, which took place at Alphabet, Amazon, Unity and Discord. ByteDance also slashed jobs in November 2023 in its gaming division, Nuverse.

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