Even here in our newsroom, the sounds of TikTok are inescapable. Several of my coworkers are casual TikTokers as well as my friends and family members, so even in my chosen celibacy, I can’t seem to avoid the trends TikTok creates.

That could all change if the United States Senate passes a bill giving TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance less than six months to sell the social media platform to a company that’s headquartered outside of China or face a complete ban from United States internet and app stores.

The bill, known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, passed through the House on March 12 with 352 voting for and 65 against.

Arizona Congressman Rueben Gallego was one of the 65 House members who voted against the ban.

He explained in an X post on March 13 that banning TikTok is “not the answer” for protecting Americans and Arizonans from what he sees as a foreign threat.

If it passes the Senate, the bill will land on President Biden’s desk. He said March 8, if the bill reached the Oval office, he said he would sign it.

TikTok has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers and the United States government almost since its inception. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump threatened a ban in the United States if ByteDance didn’t sell US operations to a United States-based company.

TikTok survived the scrutiny, and has continued to grow. The app claims to have 150 million users in the United States alone.

A Capterra Survey from 2023 reports that small businesses that advertise on multiple social media apps see more engagement in their TikTok content than their content on Meta-owned platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Tasha Sturges is one of the owners of Volare helicopters in Tucson. She started a TikTok account for the company around 2021.

“I think [social media] helps especially small businesses,” she said. “It’s a good way to get people aware of who you are without having to spend money.”

When she started the account, @volaireheli, Sturges posted flyovers, but the account really took off when she began posting videos of her oldest son, Jack, in his car seat in their helicopter.

Since then, the Volare account has racked up a combined 5.2 million likes on their videos. Sturges said that the account is mainly for fun with a side of business since most of their followers aren’t local to Tucson.

“Our followers are kind of from all over the world,” she said. “[Followers] didn’t necessarily turn into customers, but it did help grow like Instagram, Facebook and other stuff. It’s more of an on the side thing.”

Lauren Valenzuela, who owns the jewelry company Sigfus Designs, was brought to TikTok in 2021 as part of the platform’s Creator Program. In exchange for financial compensation and TikTok-branded swag, Valenzuela posted five “educational” videos per week for about three months. These videos were mostly about her jewelry-making process and materials.

She said she started with “like two followers” and, now, has over 20,000. Though she said that her followers don’t always transition into customers. She mostly sees an increase in her social media following on Instagram.

“I think [the apps] are all part of the main social media hub,” she said. “They serve each other. There’s a lot of crossover, and [the apps] kind of push each other back and forth.”

Both businesses said they’re thankful for what TikTok has done for them and their companies. However, neither says they’re worried about what will happen to their livelihoods if the app disappears.

“It’s not going to kill our business, but it’s definitely more challenging,” Valenzuela said. “We’re a local, native Tucsonans. We’ve created our businesses from the ground up. We don’t have big loans or capital. We use social media.”