by Meghan Dillon, Senior Account Supervisor, Digital

The social media app TikTok has continued to make headlines and our team at Green Room has followed updates closely. Lawmakers and security experts have expressed concern that the Chinese government could lean on TikTok as a pathway to access sensitive data from the 170 million users in the US. This week, the Senate passed a bill that will force parent company ByteDance to sell TikTok, and President Biden signed the bill into law. ByteDance has 270 days (or about nine months) to sell TikTok. If it doesn’t sell, the app will be banned in the US.

So, what happens next? Overall, things are expected to get complicated legally.

TikTok will challenge this bill in court.

Experts expect ByteDance’s case to lean on the First Amendment, by arguing that a forced sale would violate users’ free speech rights. A new owner could change the app’s content policies and ultimately impact what users can share on the platform.

Conversely, the US government will need to show that TikTok dramatically impacts national security concerns.

The buyer pool for TikTok is extremely limited, so a sale may not be realistic.

Analysts estimate that the US portion of TikTok is worth tens of billions of dollars. This price tag would limit potential buyers.

Antitrust laws would likely block tech giants like Meta and Google from an acquisition.

The divestment would be extremely complicated, in part due to parsing out the algorithm and its impact on the US portion of TikTok.

The Chinese government may also try to block the sale. Their export regulations appear to cover TikTok’s content recommendation algorithm, which gives them a say in whether ByteDance could sell or license the most important feature of the app.

Our take? Consumers are increasingly searching for healthcare information on social media platforms like TikTok. Here are three key areas that we must consider as healthcare communicators during this uncertain time for TikTok’s future.

TikTok elevates and unites healthcare communities: As a source of healthcare information, TikTok’s #HealthTok has connected individuals searching for community in the areas of mental health, pediatrics, IBD, dermatology, and aesthetics to name a few.  These TikTok communities are extremely active and engaged, and they use the platform to share information and support one another. If the TikTok ban goes through, these communities will likely re-establish on other social platforms. Our team will continue to monitor how these communities engage on TikTok in the coming months and whether they migrate to other video-focused platforms such as Instagram or other emergent platforms.

Healthcare professionals represent the number one profession on TikTok: Healthcare professionals share important content on TikTok to ensure that people find the health information they need on the platforms where they spend the most time.  #DocTalk has enabled consumers to find quick answers to their healthcare questions. People searching for health information on social media will need to turn to other platforms like Instagram and YouTube if the ban goes through, but neither impacts the cultural zeitgeist like TikTok does presently.

TikTok’s short-form viral video content makes it particularly useful for disseminating health information: TikTok’s unique platform relies on short-form video content powered by an algorithm that fuels viral trends. This makes the platform particularly useful for educating audiences about a variety of healthcare topics and sustaining the relevancy of a brand. Sharing content and messaging in short-form videos is critical to reach end consumers and remain relevant. During this uncertain period, brands should diversify the platforms they are using for content creation but continue to prioritize short-form video content that can translate to other platforms (such as IG Reels and YT Shorts).

The TikTok ban will evolve over the upcoming months, and our team will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Green Room Communications, a specialty healthcare communications agency, has been named winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2019 Region 2 Small Business Subcontractor of the Year award. This prestigious award honors small businesses that have provided the government and industry with outstanding goods and services as subcontractors.

“To be nominated for this award by a global pharmaceutical company recognizing our hard work and innovation in communications is an incredible honor,” said Deborah Fowler, Managing Partner of Green Room Communications. “We have a unique relationship with our clients, in fact, we call them partners because they do not see us or treat us as vendors. We are an extension of their teams.”

Founded in 2008 by Karen Carolonza and Deborah Fowler, Green Room Communications was nominated for the category by Sanofi for its overall satisfaction with Green Room’s unique and superior services.

“Our work with Green Room spans 10 years,” says Kathleen Castore, Head of Supplier Diversity and Sustainability at Sanofi. “This is tribute to how they continue to innovate and evolve with us, providing us with services that bring value to our business. At Sanofi, we consider our Small Business Program to be a business imperative that drives innovation, job creation and creates economic growth with small and diverse businesses.”

“Our partners realize a small business like Green Room can deliver big agency impact,” said Karen Carolonza, Managing Partner of Green Room Communications. “We are like a biotech: nimble, efficient and with access to the top communications strategists in the industry.”

Green Room is recognized in Region 2, which serves New YorkNew JerseyPuerto Rico, and The U.S. Virgin Islands. Each large federal prime contractor may nominate one firm for the award, and firms must be defined as “small” according to applicable SBA size standards.

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2019 —Together for Girls, Inc. a nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence against children, has appointed Karen Carolonza, Managing Partner of Green Room Communications, to its Board of Directors.

Carolonza brings more than 20 years of global experience in the healthcare, chemical and TV news industries. She co-founded Green Room in 2008, driving the healthcare communications agency to grow into a leading specialty communications company focused on public relations, corporate communications, media strategy, advocacy relations and creative design. The company is committed to helping women succeed and actively fosters professional opportunities for them. In 2016, Green Room was named a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

“We are excited to welcome Karen Carolonza to our Board of Directors,” said Gary Cohen, Founder of the Together for Girls partnership and President of Together for Girls, Inc. “She brings a wealth of experience in global communications. Her expertise, knowledge and passion for fostering opportunities for girls and women will be extremely valuable to us in advancing our mission.”

Founded in 2009, the Together for Girls public-private partnership brings together national governments, United Nations entities, and private sector organizations to prevent and respond to violence against children with a particular focus on ending sexual violence against girls. The partnership uses a three-pronged model: data, action, and advocacy to promote evidence-based solutions, galvanize coordinated response across sectors, and raise awareness. It is now active in more than 20 countries around the world.

Together for Girls Inc., the 501(c)3 arm of the partnership, enables greater participation of the private and philanthropy sectors in supporting the work of the partnership and its coordinating body, the Together for Girls Secretariat. As a member of the Together for Girls, Inc. Board of Directors, Carolonza will support the continued growth of the organization and help raise awareness about its mission and work.

“I am honored to join the Together for Girls Board. I’ve long admired the organization’s mission and have tremendous respect for the important work that Together for Girls is doing on behalf of girls and boys to eradicate violence globally and make the world a safer place. I look forward to lending my expertise in helping the organization achieve its objectives,” said Carolonza.

Carolonza is also a member of the ExL Pharma PR Steering Committee and chaired its annual national Summit for six years. Additionally, she served as a volunteer on the CDC Foundation to advocate for Health Protection Goals and is on the boards of Soft Bones: The U.S. Hypophosphatasia Foundation, and cancer organization, Mary’s Place by the Sea. Carolonza has been recognized as a Leading Woman Entrepreneur in New Jersey and in 2014, was among the top 25 in the state. She was also awarded Brava’s SmartCEO award in 2016.