What is Tik Tok?
Tik Tok is a video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is used to create short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. The app was launched in 2017 for iOS and Android for markets outside of China. ByteDance had previously launched Douyin (Chinese: 抖音) for the Chinese market in September 2016.
TikTok and Douyin are similar to each other but run on separate servers to comply with Chinese censorship restrictions. The application allows users to create short music and lip-sync videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. It is popular in Asia, the United States, and other parts of the world.TikTok is not available in China, and its servers are based in countries where the app is available.
Tik Tok was the most downloaded app in the US in October 2018, the first Chinese app to achieve this. As of 2018, it is available in over 150 markets and in 75 languages. In February 2019, Tik Tok, together with Douyin, hit one billion downloads globally, excluding Android installs in China. In 2019, TikTok was announced to be the 7th most downloaded mobile app of the decade, from 2010 to 2019.
The Tik Tok mobile app allows users to create a short video of themselves which often feature music in the background, can be sped up, slowed down or edited with a filter. To create a music video with the app, users can choose background music from a wide variety of music genres, edit with a filter and record a 15-second video with speed adjustments before uploading it to share with others on Tik Tok or other social platforms. They can also film short lip-sync videos to popular songs.
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 from another video. The “duet” feature was another trademark of Musical.ly.
The app allows users to set their accounts as “private”. Such accounts’ 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.
The “for you” page on Tik Tok is a feed of recommended videos to users based on their previous actions on the app, consisting of what kind of content they liked.
Users can only be featured on the “for you” page if they are 16 or over per TikTok policy. Users under 16 will not show up under the “for you” page, under sounds, or under any hashtags.
Users can also add videos, hashtags, filters, and sounds to their “saved” section. This section is visible only to the user on their profile allowing them to refer back to any video, hashtag, filter, or sound they’ve previously saved.
The brief ban in India
On 3 April 2019, the Madras High Court while hearing a PIL had asked the Government of India to ban the app, citing that it “encourages pornography”. The court also noted that children using the app were at risk of being targeted by sexual predators. The court further asked broadcast media not to telecast any of those videos from the app. The spokesperson for TikTok stated that they were abiding by local laws and were awaiting a copy of the court order before they take action. On 17 April, both Google and Apple removed TikTok from Google Play and the App Store. As the court refused to reconsider the ban, the company stated that it had removed over 6 million videos that violated its content policy and guidelines.
On 25 April 2019, the ban was lifted after a court in Tamil Nadu reversed its order of prohibiting downloads of the app from the App Store and Google Play, following a plea from TikTok developer Bytedance Technology. India’s TikTok ban might have cost the app 15 million new users.
List of most-followed Tik Tok accounts
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