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TikTok, known in China as Douyin (), is a video-sharing
social networking service A social networking service (also social networking site or social media) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backg ...
owned by Chinese company
ByteDance ByteDance Ltd. () is a multinational internet technology company headquartered in Beijing and legally domiciled in the Cayman Islands. It was founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012. ByteDance is the developer of the video-sharing social networking serv ...
. The social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education, that have a duration from 15 seconds to one minute (three minutes for some users). TikTok is an international version of Douyin, which was originally released in the Chinese market in September 2016. Later, TikTok was launched in 2017 for
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch; the term a ...
and Android in most markets outside of
mainland China Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, China mainland, or the Mainland Area of the Republic of China is the geopolitical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since October 1, 1949. It include ...
; however, it only became available worldwide after merging with another Chinese social media service,
Musical.ly Musical.ly (stylized as musical.ly) was a Chinese social media service headquartered in Shanghai with a US office in Santa Monica, California on which platform users created and shared short lip-sync videos. The first prototype was released in Apr ...
, on 2 August 2018. TikTok and Douyin have almost the same user interface but no access to each other's content. Their servers are each based in the market where the respective app is available. The two products are similar, but features are not identical. Douyin includes an in-video search feature that can search by people's face for more videos of them and other features such as buying, booking hotels and making geo-tagged reviews. Since its launch in 2016, TikTok/Douyin rapidly gained popularity in
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The modern states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. The East Asian states of China, North ...
,
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka.;;;;;;;; Top ...

South Asia
,
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are geographically south of China, east of the Indian subcontinent and north-west of Australia. Southeast Asia is bordered to the north b ...

Southeast Asia
, the United States, Turkey, Russia, and other parts of the world. As of October 2020, TikTok surpassed over 2 billion mobile downloads worldwide. Vanessa Pappas is the CEO of TikTok, having assumed the position following the resignation of Kevin A. Mayer on 27 August 2020. On 3 August 2020, US President
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American media personality and businessman who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Born and raised in Queens, New York City, Trump attended Fordham University ...
threatened to ban TikTok in the United States on 15 September if negotiations for the company to be bought by
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related s ...

Microsoft
or a different "very American" company failed. On 6 August, Trump signed two
executive orders ">wp:caption "Not every image ..."--> An executive order is a means of issuing federal directives in the United States, used by the President of the United States, that manages operations of the federal government. The legal or constitution ...
banning US "transactions" with TikTok and
WeChat WeChat () is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. First released in 2011, it became the world's largest standalone mobile app in 2018, with over 1 billion monthly active users. WeChat has b ...
to its respective parent companies ByteDance and
Tencent Tencent Holdings Ltd., also known as Tencent, is a Chinese multinational technology conglomerate holding company. Founded in 1998, its subsidiaries globally market various Internet-related services and products, including in entertainment, ar ...
, set to take effect 45 days after the signing. A planned ban of the app on 20 September 2020 was postponed by a week and then blocked by a federal judge. The app has been banned by the government of
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Oce ...

India
since June 2020 along with 223 other Chinese apps in response to a border clash with China. Pakistan banned TikTok citing 'immoral' and 'indecent' videos on 9 October 2020 but reversed its ban ten days later on 19 October 2020. Then in March 2021, a Pakistani court ordered a new TikTok ban due to complaints over "indecent" content.
Morning Consult Morning Consult is a global, privately held data intelligence company established in 2014. It was named one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America by Deloitte in both 2018 and 2019. The company specializes in online survey re ...
ranked TikTok as the third fastest growing brand of 2020, after only
Zoom Zoom may refer to: Technology Computing * Zoom (software), videoconferencing application * Page zooming, the ability to magnify or shrink a portion of a page on a computer display * Zooming user interface, a graphical interface allowing for image ...
and
Peacock Peafowl is a common name for three bird species in the genera ''Pavo'' and ''Afropavo'' of the family Phasianidae, the pheasants and their allies. Male peafowl are referred to as peacocks, and female peafowl are referred to as peahens, even th ...
.


History


Evolution

Douyin was launched by ByteDance in Beijing, China in September 2016, originally under the name A.me, before rebranding to Douyin () in December 2016. ByteDance planned on Douyin expanding overseas. The founder of ByteDance, Zhang Yiming, stated that "China is home to only one-fifth of Internet users globally. If we don’t expand on a global scale, we are bound to lose to peers eyeing the four-fifths. So, going global is a must." Douyin was developed in 200 days and within a year had 100 million users, with more than one billion videos viewed every day. TikTok was launched in the international market in September 2017. On 23 January 2018, the TikTok app ranked No. 1 among free app downloads on app stores in
Thailand ) , royal_anthem = ''Sansoen Phra Barami''( en, "Glorify His prestige") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Bangkok , coordinates = , largest_city = Bangkok , official_languages = ThaiJimmy Fallon James Thomas Fallon (born September 19, 1974) is an American comedian, actor, television host, singer, writer, and producer. He is known for his work in television as a cast member on ''Saturday Night Live'' and as the host of late-night talk sh ...
and
Tony Hawk Anthony Frank Hawk (born May 12, 1968), nicknamed Birdman, is an American professional skateboarder, entrepreneur, and owner of the skateboard company Birdhouse. Hawk completed the first documented "900" skateboarding trick, licensed a video gam ...
began using the application in 2018; other celebrities such as
Jennifer Lopez Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969), also known by her nickname J.Lo, is an American singer, songwriter, actress and dancer. In 1991, Lopez began appearing as a Fly Girl dancer on ''In Living Color'', where she remained a regular until s ...

Jennifer Lopez
,
Jessica Alba Jessica Marie Alba (; born April 28, 1981) is an American actress and businesswoman. She began her television and movie appearances at age 13 in ''Camp Nowhere'' and ''The Secret World of Alex Mack'' (1994), but rose to prominence at 19, as the ...
,
Will Smith Willard Carroll Smith Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, rapper, and film producer. Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards. During the late 1980s, he achie ...
, and
Justin Bieber Justin Drew Bieber (; born March 1, 1994) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Bieber was discovered by American record executive Scooter Braun and signed with RBMG Records in 2008, gaining recognition with the release ...

Justin Bieber
joined TikTok as well and many other celebrities have followed. On 3 September 2019, TikTok and the US
National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major ...
(NFL) announced a multi-year partnership. The agreement occurred just two days before the NFL's 100th season kick-off at the
Soldier Field Soldier Field is an American football and soccer stadium located in the Near South Side of Chicago, Illinois, near Downtown Chicago. It opened in 1924 and is the home field of the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL), who moved ther ...
, where TikTok hosted activities for fans in honor of the deal. The partnership entails the launch of an official NFL TikTok account, which is to bring about new marketing opportunities such as sponsored videos and hashtag challenges. In July 2020, TikTok, excluding Douyin, reported close to 800 million monthly active users worldwide after less than four years of existence.


Musical.ly merger

On 9 November 2017, TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, spent up to US$1 billion to purchase musical.ly, a startup headquartered in
Shanghai Shanghai (, , Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ) is one of the four direct-administered municipalities of the People's Republic of China, governed by the State Council. The city is located on the southern estuary of the Yangtze River, with ...
with an overseas office in
Santa Monica Santa Monica () is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is bordered on five sides by different neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles: Pacific Palisades to the north, Brent ...
, California, US. Musical.ly was a social media video platform that allowed users to create short lip-sync and comedy videos, initially released in August 2014. It was well known, especially to the younger audience. Looking forward to leveraging the US digital platform's young user base, TikTok merged with musical.ly on 2 August 2018 to create a larger video community, with existing accounts and data consolidated into one app, keeping the title TikTok. This ended musical.ly and made TikTok a worldwide app, excluding China, since China already has Douyin.


Expansion in other markets

As of 2018, TikTok has been made available in over 150 markets, and in 75 languages. TikTok was downloaded more than 104 million times on Apple's App store during the full first half of 2018, according to data provided to
CNBC CNBC is an American pay television business news channel owned by NBCUniversal News Group, a division of NBCUniversal, with both being ultimately owned by Comcast. Headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, the network primarily carries busi ...
by Sensor Tower. After merging with musical.ly in August, downloads increased and TikTok became the most downloaded app in the US in October 2018, which musical.ly had done once before. In February 2019, TikTok, together with Douyin, hit one billion downloads globally, excluding Android installs in China. In 2019, media outlets cited TikTok as the 7th-most-downloaded mobile app of the decade, from 2010 to 2019. It was also the most-downloaded app on Apple's App Store in 2018 and 2019, surpassing
Facebook Facebook (stylized as ) is an American online social media and social networking service based in Menlo Park, California, and a flagship service of the namesake company Facebook, Inc. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard ...

Facebook
,
YouTube#REDIRECT YouTube {{R from miscapitalization ...
and
Instagram Instagram (commonly abbreviated to IG or Insta) is an American photo and video sharing social networking service created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. In April 2012, Facebook acquired the service for approximately US$1 billion in cash ...

Instagram
. In September 2020, a deal was confirmed between ByteDance and
Oracle An oracle is a person or agency considered to provide wise and insightful counsel or prophetic predictions, most notably including precognition of the future, inspired by deities. As such, it is a form of divination. Description The word ''orac ...
in which the latter will serve as a partner to provide cloud hosting.
Walmart Walmart Inc. (; formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores from the United States, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansa ...
intends to invest in TikTok. In November 2020, TikTok signed a licensing deal with
Sony Music Sony Music Entertainment (commonly referred to as Sony Music) is an American global music company. Owned by the Japanese conglomerate Sony Group Corporation, it is part of the Sony Music Group, which is owned by Sony Corporation of America. It w ...
. In January 2021,
Warner Music Group Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) is an American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate headquartered in New York City. It is one of the "big three" recording companies and the third-largest in the global music industry, after U ...
signed a licensing deal with TikTok.


Douyin (抖音)

As a separate app from TikTok, Douyin (), officially known as ''Dǒuyīn duǎn shìpín'' (抖音短视频; lit. Douyin Short Video), is primarily downloaded in China and has a slightly older audience than TikTok, as their user base ranges from children to middle-aged adults. The app uses two different types of verification, an influencer personal verification similar to that of TikTok and a business verification requiring a license and yearly fee. Business verified users could promote to a specific audience, which allows them to choose where they want their video to be seen, such as a specific physical location. Douyin also has its store, in which users can tag and advertise their products, and users can request to work with an influencer for brand deals. Part of the app's popularity has been attributed to its marketing campaigns that launched several Chinese celebrities' activities to engage their fans' interest.


Features and trends

The TikTok mobile app allows users to create short videos, which often feature music in the background and can be sped up, slowed down, or edited with a filter. They can also add their own sound on top of the background music. To create a music video with the app, users can choose background music from a wide variety of
music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in practice these terms are somet ...
s, edit with a filter and record a 15-second video with speed adjustments before uploading it to share with others on TikTok or other social platforms. They can also film short lip-sync videos to popular songs. The "For You" page on TikTok is a feed of videos that are recommended to users based on their activity on the app. Content is generated by TikTok's artificial intelligence (AI) depending on the content a user liked, interacted with, or searched. Users can also choose to add to favorites or select "not interested" on videos for their page. TikTok combines the user's enjoyed content to provide videos that they would also enjoy. Users and their content can only be featured on the "for you" page if they are 16 or over as per TikTok policy. Users under 16 will not show up under the "for you" page, the sounds page, or under any hashtags. The app's "react" feature allows users to film their reaction to a specific video, over which it is placed in a small window that is movable around the screen. Its "duet" feature allows users to film a video aside another video. The "duet" feature was another trademark of Musical.ly. Videos that users do not want to post yet can be stored in their "drafts". The user is allowed to see their "drafts" and post when they find it fitting. The app allows users to set their accounts as "private." When first downloading the app, the user's account is public by default. The user can change to private in their settings. Private content remains visible to TikTok, but is blocked from TikTok users who the account holder has not authorized to view their content. Users can choose whether any other user, or only their "friends", may interact with them through the app via comments, messages, or "react" or "duet" videos. Users also can set specific videos to either "public", "friends only", or "private" regardless if the account is private or not. Users are also allowed to report accounts depending on the account's content, either being spam or inappropriate. In TikTok's support center under "For Parents," they reassure the parents that inappropriate content for their children can be blocked and reported. When users follow other users, a "following" page is located on the left of the "for you" page. This is a page only to see the videos from the accounts a user follows. Users can also add videos, hashtags, filters, and sounds to their "saved" section. When creating a video, they can refer to their saved section, or create a video straight from it. This section is visible only to the user on their profile allowing them to refer to any video, hashtag, filter, or sound they've previously saved. Users can also send their friends videos, emojis, and messages with direct messaging. TikTok has also included a feature to create a video based on the user's comments. Influencers often use the "live" feature. This feature is only available for those who have at least 1,000 followers and are over 16 years old. If over 18, the user's followers can send virtual "gifts" that can be later exchanged for money. One of the newest features as of 2020 is the "Virtual Items" of "Small Gestures" feature. This is based on China's big practice of social gifting. Since this feature was added, many beauty companies and brands created a TikTok account to participate and advertise this feature. With quarantine in the United States, social gifting has grown in popularity. According to a TikTok representative, the campaign was launched as a result of the lockdown, "to build a sense of support and encouragement with the TikTok community during these tough times." TikTok announced a "family safety mode" in February 2020 for parents to be able to control their children's digital well-being. There is a screen time management option, restricted mode, and can put a limit on direct messages.


Viral trends

A variety of trends have risen within TikTok, including
memes A meme ( ) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural id ...
, lip-synced songs, and comedy videos. Duets, a feature that allows users to add their own video to an existing video with the original content's audio, have sparked many of these trends. Trends are shown on TikTok's explore page or the page with the search logo. The page enlists the trending
hashtag A hashtag is a metadata tag that is prefaced by the hash symbol, #. Hashtags are widely used on microblogging and photo-sharing services such as Twitter and Instagram as a form of user-generated tagging that enables cross-referencing of content ...
s and challenges among the app. Some include #posechallenge, #filterswitch, #dontjudgemechallenge, #homedecor, #hitormiss, #bottlecapchallenge and more. In June 2019, the company introduced the hashtag #EduTok which received 37 billion views. Following this development, the company initiated partnerships with edtech startups to create educational content on the platform. The app has spawned numerous viral trends,
Internet celebrities An Internet celebrity (also known as a social media influencer) is a celebrity who has acquired or developed their fame and notability through the Internet. The rise of social media has helped people increase their outreach to a global audience. In ...
, and music trends around the world. Many stars got their start on
musical.ly Musical.ly (stylized as musical.ly) was a Chinese social media service headquartered in Shanghai with a US office in Santa Monica, California on which platform users created and shared short lip-sync videos. The first prototype was released in Apr ...
, which merged with TikTok on 2 August 2018. These users include
Loren Gray Loren Gray Beech (born April 19, 2002) is an American model, singer and social media personality from Pottstown, Pennsylvania. She was signed to Virgin Records and Capitol Records until February 2021, when she became an independent artist. Caree ...
, Baby Ariel, Kristen Hancher, Zach King, Lisa and Lena, Jacob Sartorius, and many others. Loren Gray remained the most-followed individual on TikTok until Charli D'Amelio, Charli D’Amelio surpassed her on 25 March 2020. Gray's was the first TikTok account to reach 40 million followers on the platform. She was surpassed with 41.3 million followers. D'Amelio was the first to ever reach 50, 60, and 70 million followers. Until now Charli D’Amelio remains the List of most-followed TikTok accounts, most-followed individual on the platform. Other creators rose to fame after the platform merged with
musical.ly Musical.ly (stylized as musical.ly) was a Chinese social media service headquartered in Shanghai with a US office in Santa Monica, California on which platform users created and shared short lip-sync videos. The first prototype was released in Apr ...
on 2 August 2018. One notable TikTok trend is the "hit or miss" meme, which begain from a snippet of iLOVEFRiDAY's song "Mia Khalifa (Diss), Mia Khalifa." The song has been used in over four million TikTok videos and helped introduce the app to a larger Western audience. TikTok also played a major part in making "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X one of the biggest songs of 2019 and the longest running number-one song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. TikTok has allowed many other bands to gain a wider audience, often including foreign fans. For example, despite never having toured in Asia, the band Fitz and the Tantrums developed a large following in South Korea following the widespread popularity of their song "HandClap" on the platform. "Any Song" by R&B and rap artist Zico (rapper), Zico became number 1 on the Korean music charts due to the popularity of the #anysongchallenge, where users dance the choreography of "Any Song". "Any Song" was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 17 weeks, breaking the record for the longest time a song was number 1 on the charts. The platform has received some criticism for not paying royalties to artists whose music is used on their platform. In June 2020, TikTok users and K-pop fans "claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets" for 2020 Trump Tulsa rally, President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa through communication on TikTok, contributing to "rows of empty seats" at the event. TikTok has banned Holocaust denial, but other conspiracy theories have become popular on the platform, such as Pizzagate and QAnon (two conspiracy theories popular among the US alt-right) whose hashtags reached almost 80 million views and 50 million views respectively by June 2020. The platform has also been used to spread misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, such as clips from ''Plandemic''. TikTok removed some of these videos, and has generally added links to accurate COVID-19 information on videos with tags related to the pandemic. On 10 August 2020, Emily Jacobssen wrote and sang "Ode To Remy," a song praising the protagonist from the 2007 Pixar computer-animated film ''Ratatouille (film), Ratatouille''. The song rose to popularity when musician Daniel Mertzlufft composed a backing track to the song. In response, began creating a "crowdsourced" project called ''Ratatouille the Musical, Ratatouille The Musical''. Since Mertzlufft's video, many new elements including costume design, additional songs, and a Programme (booklet), playbill have been created. The trend has been even been noticed by Lou Romano, who voiced Alfredo Linguini in the original film; Broadway theatre, Broadway performer Kevin Chamberlin; and Disney Channel actor Milo Manheim. On New Year's Day 2021, a full one-hour virtual presentation of ''Ratatouille the Musical'' premiered on the TodayTix; The production featured elements created via TikTok. It starred Titus Burgess as Remy, Wayne Brady as Django, Adam Lambert as Emile, Chamberlin as Gusteau, Andrew Barth Feldman as Linguini, Ashley Park (actress), Ashley Park as Colette, Priscilla Lopez as Mabel, Mary Testa as Skinner, and André De Shields as Ego.


Influencer marketing

TikTok has provided a platform for users to create content not only for fun, but also for money. As the platform has grown significantly over the past few years, it has allowed companies to advertise and rapidly reach their intended demographic through influencer marketing. The platform's AI algorithm also contributes to the influencer marketing potential, as it picks out content according to the user's preference. Sponsored content is not as prevalent on the platform as it is on other social media apps, but brands and influencers still can make as much as they would if not more in comparison to other platforms. Influencers on the platform who earn money through engagement, such as likes and comments, are referred to as "meme machines". In 2021, The New York Times, ''The New York Times'' reported that viral TikTok videos by young people relating the emotional impact of books on them, tagged with the label "BookTok", significantly drove sales of literature. Publishers were increasingly using the platform as a venue for influencer marketing.


User characteristics and behavior


Users

In the three years after it launched in September 2016, TikTok acquired 800 million active users. Its users include Zach King,
Loren Gray Loren Gray Beech (born April 19, 2002) is an American model, singer and social media personality from Pottstown, Pennsylvania. She was signed to Virgin Records and Capitol Records until February 2021, when she became an independent artist. Caree ...
, Baby Ariel, Lisa and Lena,
Will Smith Willard Carroll Smith Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, rapper, and film producer. Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards. During the late 1980s, he achie ...
, Dwayne Johnson, Brent Rivera, Addison Rae, Jason Derulo,
Jennifer Lopez Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969), also known by her nickname J.Lo, is an American singer, songwriter, actress and dancer. In 1991, Lopez began appearing as a Fly Girl dancer on ''In Living Color'', where she remained a regular until s ...

Jennifer Lopez
, Camila Cabello, Lilly Singh, Selena Gomez, Noah Schnapp and Charli D'Amelio, the most-followed individual on the platform.


Demographics

Globally, 44% of TikTok users are female while 56% are male. TikTok's geographical use has shown that 43% of new users are from India. TikTok tends to appeal to younger users, as 41% of its users are between the ages of 16 and 24. Among these TikTok users, 90% say they use the app daily. As of July 2020, there were over 90 million monthly active users in the United States alone.


Use by businesses

In October 2020, the ecommerce platform Shopify added TikTok to its portfolio of social media platforms, allowing online merchants to sell their products directly to consumers on TikTok. Some small businesses have used TikTok to advertise and to reach an audience wider than the geographical region they would normally serve. The viral response to many small business TikTok videos has been attributed to TikTok's algorithm, which shows content that viewers at large are drawn to, but which they are unlikely to actively search for (such as videos on unconventional types of businesses, like beekeeping and logging). In 2020, digital media companies such as Group Nine Media and Global Media & Entertainment, Global used TikTok increasingly, focusing on tactics such as brokering partnerships with TikTok influencers and developing branded content campaigns. Notable collaborations between larger brands and top TikTok influencers have included Chipotle's partnership with David Dobrik in May 2019 and Dunkin' Donuts' partnership with Charli D'Amelio in September 2020.


Country bans and attempted bans


China

In April 2020, TikTok officially cooperated with mainland China's Internet censorship mechanism and began to prohibit the use of overseas version of Douyin in mainland China. Different from general blockade, TikTok adopted an IP lock zone, mainly for mainland China; Hong Kong and Macau were not affected. The direct consequence of the lock zone is that Chinese users cannot log in to TikTok using a VPN. Officials have also restricted the numbers of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. The phone numbers of the above three cannot log in to TikTok. Even so, there are a large number of cracked versions of TikTok on the Chinese Internet. The cracked version of TikTok can watch videos normally, but the phone number restriction has not been cracked and users cannot log in. In January 2021, the Great Firewall of China’s blocking measures on TikTok were further upgraded, and the monitoring of the cracked version of TikTok was increased, and measures such as node blocking and IP blocking were adopted to interfere with the normal watching of videos by mainland users: that is, users watch normally. but ater a few videos, the video cannot be refreshed, and you need to re-enter the software before you can continue watching. The official website www.tiktok.com of the overseas version of TikTok is currently blocked by the Great Firewall, and the Chinese language of the official website of the overseas version only provides Traditional Chinese, as officially used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, instead of Simplified Chinese.


India

TikTok was banned completely in India by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on 29 June 2020, along with 223 other Chinese apps, with a statement saying they were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order". The ban was made permanent in January 2021. In February 2021, TikTok announced that due to the ban it will cut more than 2000 jobs in India.


United States

On 6 August 2020, U.S. President
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American media personality and businessman who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Born and raised in Queens, New York City, Trump attended Fordham University ...
signed executive order 13942 which would ban TikTok transactions in 45 days if it is not sold by
ByteDance ByteDance Ltd. () is a multinational internet technology company headquartered in Beijing and legally domiciled in the Cayman Islands. It was founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012. ByteDance is the developer of the video-sharing social networking serv ...
. Trump also signed a similar order against the
WeChat WeChat () is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. First released in 2011, it became the world's largest standalone mobile app in 2018, with over 1 billion monthly active users. WeChat has b ...
application owned by the Chinese multinational company
Tencent Tencent Holdings Ltd., also known as Tencent, is a Chinese multinational technology conglomerate holding company. Founded in 1998, its subsidiaries globally market various Internet-related services and products, including in entertainment, ar ...
. On 14 August 2020, Trump issued order DCPD-202000608 giving ByteDance 90 days to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business. In the order, Trump said that there is "credible evidence" that leads him to believe that ByteDance "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States." TikTok considered selling the American portion of its business, and held talks with companies including
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related s ...

Microsoft
,
Walmart Walmart Inc. (; formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores from the United States, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansa ...
, and
Oracle An oracle is a person or agency considered to provide wise and insightful counsel or prophetic predictions, most notably including precognition of the future, inspired by deities. As such, it is a form of divination. Description The word ''orac ...
. On September 18, TikTok filed a lawsuit, ''TikTok v. Trump''. On 23 September 2020, TikTok filed a request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the app from being banned by the Trump administration. U.S. judge Carl J. Nichols temporarily blocked the Trump administration order that would effectively ban TikTok from being downloaded in U.S. app stores starting midnight on 27 September 2020. Nichols allowed the app to remain available in the U.S. app stores, but declined to block the additional Commerce Department restrictions that could have a larger impact on TikTok's operations in the U.S. These restrictions were set to take place 12 November 2020. Three TikTok influencers filed a lawsuit, ''Marland v. Trump''. On October 30, Pennsylvania judge Wendy Beetlestone ruled against the United States Department of Commerce, Commerce Department, blocking them from restricting TikTok. On November 12, the Commerce Department stated that it would obey the Pennsylvania ruling and that it would not try to enforce the restrictions against TikTok that had been scheduled for November 12. The Commerce Department appealed the original ruling in ''TikTok v. Trump''. On December 7, Washington D.C. district court judge Carl J. Nichols issued a preliminary injunction against the United States Department of Commerce, Commerce Department, preventing them from imposing restrictions on TikTok.


Indonesia and Bangladesh

TikTok has been intermittently blocked in countries including Indonesia and Bangladesh on different bases.


Pakistan

On 11 October 2020, Pakistan became the next country to ban the social media platform after not complying with Internet censorship in Pakistan, issues regarding the content on the platform brought up by their government. TikTok representatives are currently speaking with Pakistani officials in hopes of building better relations and allowing the people of Pakistan to create on the platform.


Controversies


Addiction concerns

Some users may find it hard to stop using TikTok. In April 2018, an addiction-reduction feature was added to Douyin. This encouraged users to take a break every 90 minutes. Later in 2018, the feature was rolled out to the TikTok app. TikTok uses some top influencers such as Gabe Erwin, Alan Chikin Chow, James Henry, and Cosette Rinab to encourage viewers to stop using the app and take a break. Many were also concerned with users' attention spans with these videos. Users watch short 15-second clips repeatedly and studies say that this could report to a decrease in attention span. This is a concern as many of TikTok's audience are younger children, whose brains are still developing.


Content concerns

Many countries showed concerns regarding the content of TikTok which is thought to be obscene, immoral, vulgar and encouraging of pornography. There have been temporary blocks and warnings issued by countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh,
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Oce ...

India
, and Pakistan over the content concerns. In 2018, Douyin was reprimanded by Chinese media watchdogs for showing "unacceptable" content, such as videos depicting adolescent pregnancies. On 27 July 2020, Egypt sentenced five women to two years in prison over TikTok videos on charges of violating public morals. The court also imposed a fine of 300,000 Egyptian pounds (UK£14,600) on each defendant. Concerns have been voiced regarding content relating to, and the promotion of spreading hateful words and far-right extremism, such as anti-semitism, racism and xenophobia. Some videos were shown to expressly deny the existence of the Holocaust and for its viewers to take up arms and fight in the name of white supremacy and the swastika. As TikTok's main audience is young children and the popularity of extremist and hateful content is growing, calls for tighter restrictions on their flexible boundaries have been made. TikTok have since released tougher parental controls to filter out inappropriate content and to ensure they are protection and security.


Misinformation

In January 2020, Media Matters for America said that TikTok hosted misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic despite a recent policy against misinformation. In April 2020, the government of India asked TikTok to remove users posting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were also multiple conspiracy theories that the government is involved with the spread of the pandemic. As a response to this, TikTok launched a feature to report content for misinformation.


Content censorship and moderation by the platform

In January 2019, the Chinese government said that it would start to hold app developers like ByteDance responsible for user content shared via apps such as Douyin, and listed 100 types of content that the Chinese government would censor. It was reported that certain content unfavorable to the Chinese Communist Party has already been limited for users outside of China such as content related to the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests or Tibetan independence movement, Tibetan independence. TikTok has blocked videos about human rights in China, particularly those that reference Xinjiang internment camps and abuses of ethnic and religious minorities such as the Uyghurs, and disabled the accounts of users who post them. TikTok's policies also ban content related to a specific list of foreign leaders such as Vladimir Putin,
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American media personality and businessman who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Born and raised in Queens, New York City, Trump attended Fordham University ...
, Barack Obama, and Mahatma Gandhi because it can stir controversy and attacks on political views. Its policies also ban content critical of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and content considered pro-Kurdish nationalism, Kurdish. TikTok was reported to have censored users supportive of the Citizenship Amendment Act protests in India and those who promote Hindu-Muslim unity. On 27 November 2019, TikTok temporarily suspended the account of 17-year-old Afghan-American user Feroza Aziz after she posted a video, disguised as a makeup tutorial, drawing attention to the internment camps of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China. TikTok later apologized and said that her account was suspended as a result of human error, and her account has since been reinstated. In July 2020, TikTok suspended the account of another user whose viral video called attention to human rights of the Uyghurs. In October 2019, TikTok removed about two dozen accounts that were responsible for posting Use of social media by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIS propaganda on the app. In countries where LGBT rights by country or territory, LGBT discrimination is the socio-political norm, TikTok moderators have blocked content that could be perceived as being positive towards LGBT people or LGBT rights, including same-sex couples holding hands, including in countries where homosexuality has never been illegal. Former U.S. employees of TikTok reported to ''The Washington Post'' that final decisions to remove content were made by parent company employees in Beijing. In response to censorship concerns, TikTok's parent company hired K&L Gates, including former U.S. Congressmen Bart Gordon and Jeff Denham, to advise it on its content moderation policies. TikTok also hired lobbying firm Monument Advocacy. In March 2020, internal documents leaked to ''The Intercept'' revealed that moderators had been instructed to suppress posts created by users deemed "too ugly, poor, or disabled" for the platform, and to censor political speech in livestreams, punishing those who harmed "national honor" or broadcast streams about "state organs such as police" with bans from the platform. In June 2020, ''The Wall Street Journal'' reported that some previously non-political TikTok users were airing pro-Beijing views for the explicit purpose of boosting subscribers and avoiding "shadow" bans. In July 2020, the company announced it was pulling out of Hong Kong responding to the Hong Kong national security law. In June 2020, ''The Times of India'' reported that TikTok was "shadow banning" videos related to the Sino-Indian border dispute and the 2020 China–India skirmishes. In November 2020, a former TikTok executive stated to a UK parliamentary committee that TikTok censored content critical of China and particularly content related to the Uyghur genocide. In January 2021, TikTok banned Trump content deemed to be inciting violence. On 3 February 2021, TikTok received a praise from Russian officials because social app's cooperation with them in deletion of "forbidden" content, mostly related to 2021 Russian protests, protest activity in Russia. In particular, as media censorship agency Roskomnadzor official Evgeniy Zaitsev stated that, "we need to highlight TikTok among other social media platforms because it has office in Russia and actively cooperated with us, which cannot be said about others". Also, the State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein said that TikTok new anti-fake news policies go well with the ideology of Russian content censorship law and edition of those "should be considered a very positive signal".


User privacy concerns

Digital privacy, Privacy concerns have also been brought up regarding the app. In its privacy policy, TikTok lists that it collects Usage data, usage information, IP addresses, a user's Mobile network operator, mobile carrier, Organizationally unique identifier, unique device identifiers, Keystroke dynamics, keystroke patterns, and Geographic data and information, location data, among other data. Web developers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk said that allowing videos and other content being shared by the app's users through Hypertext Transfer Protocol, HTTP puts the users' data privacy at risk. In January 2020, Check Point, Check Point Research discovered a Vulnerability (computing), security flaw in TikTok which could have allowed hackers access to user accounts using SMS. In February, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman criticised the app, calling it "spyware," and stating "I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic, that it's always listening, the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone." Responding to Huffman's comments, TikTok stated "These are baseless accusations made without a shred of evidence." Wells Fargo banned the app from its devices due to privacy and security concerns. In May 2020, the Dutch Data Protection Authority announced an investigation into TikTok in relation to privacy protections for children. In June 2020, the European Data Protection Board announced that it would assemble a task force to examine TikTok's user privacy and security practices. In August 2020, ''The Wall Street Journal'' reported that TikTok tracked Android user data, including MAC addresses and IMEIs, with a tactic in violation of Google's policies. The report sparked calls in the U.S. Senate for the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation.


US COPPA fines

On 27 February 2019, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined ByteDance US$5.7 million for collecting information from minors under the age of 13 in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. ByteDance responded by adding a kids-only mode to TikTok which blocks the upload of videos, the building of user profiles, direct messaging, and commenting on others' videos, while still allowing the viewing and recording of content. In May 2020, an advocacy group filed a complaint with the FTC saying that TikTok had violated the terms of the February 2019 consent decree, which sparked subsequent Congressional calls for a renewed FTC investigation. In July 2020, it was reported that the FTC and the United States Department of Justice had initiated investigations.


UK Information Commissioner's Office investigation

In February 2019, the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office launched an investigation of TikTok following the fine ByteDance received from the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Speaking to a parliamentary committee, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said that the investigation focuses on the issues of private data collection, the kind of videos collected and shared by children online, as well as the platform's open messaging system which allows any adult to message any child. She noted that the company was potentially violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which requires the company to provide different services and different protections for children.


Italian Data Protection Authority

On 22 January 2021, the Italian Data Protection Authority ordered the blocking of the use of the data of users whose age has not been established on the social network. The order was issued after the death of a 10-year-old Sicilian girl, which occurred after the execution of a challenge shared by users of the platform that involved attempting to choke the user with a belt around the neck. The block is set to remain in place until 15 February, when it will be re-evaluated.


Cyberbullying

As with other platforms, journalists in several countries have raised privacy concerns about the app, because it is popular with children and has the potential to be used by sexual predators. Several users have reported endemic cyberbullying on TikTok, including racism and ableism. In December 2019, following a report by German digital rights group Netzpolitik.org, TikTok admitted that it had suppressed videos by disabled users as well as LGBTQ+ users in a purported effort to limit cyberbullying. TikTok's moderators were also told to suppress users with "abnormal body shape", "ugly facial looks", "too many wrinkles", or in "slums, rural fields" and "dilapidated housing" to prevent bullying.


Legal issues


Tencent lawsuits

Tencent Tencent Holdings Ltd., also known as Tencent, is a Chinese multinational technology conglomerate holding company. Founded in 1998, its subsidiaries globally market various Internet-related services and products, including in entertainment, ar ...
's
WeChat WeChat () is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. First released in 2011, it became the world's largest standalone mobile app in 2018, with over 1 billion monthly active users. WeChat has b ...
platform has been accused of blocking Douyin's videos. In April 2018, Douyin sued Tencent and accused it of spreading false and damaging information on its WeChat platform, demanding CNY, CN¥1 million in compensation and an apology. In June 2018, Tencent filed a lawsuit against Toutiao and Douyin in a Beijing court, alleging they had repeatedly defamed Tencent with negative news and damaged its reputation, seeking a nominal sum of CN¥1 in compensation and a public apology. In response, Toutiao filed a complaint the following day against Tencent for allegedly unfair competition and asking for CN¥90 million in economic losses.


Data transfer class action lawsuit

In November 2019, a class action lawsuit was filed in California that alleged that TikTok transferred personally identifiable information of U.S. persons to servers located in China owned by Tencent and Alibaba Group, Alibaba. The lawsuit also accused ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, of taking user content without their permission. The plaintiff of the lawsuit, college student Misty Hong, downloaded the app but said she never created an account. She realized a few months later that TikTok has created an account for her using her information (such as biometric) and made a summary of her information. The lawsuit also alleged that information was sent to Chinese tech giant Baidu. In July 2020, twenty lawsuits against TikTok were merged into a single class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In February 2021, TikTok agreed to pay $92 million to settle the class action lawsuit.


See also

* Likee * List of most-liked TikTok videos * List of most-followed TikTok accounts * Timeline of social media * Triller (app), Triller * Byte (app), Byte


References


External links


Official website

ByteDance official website

Douyin
{{Most popular social media accounts TikTok, 2016 software 2010s fads and trends 2020s fads and trends Internet properties established in 2016 2016 establishments in China Chinese companies established in 2016 Android (operating system) software ByteDance Chinese brands Freeware Internet culture IOS software Mobile applications Music software Social networking services Video hosting Video software Youth culture Delisted applications Social media companies