By Lakshya Agarwala

Tik-tok – of the worlds fastest growing internet platforms with more than 800 million users worldwide. It has been downloaded more than 2 billion times and has now been banned in India. Why has this happened? Read this article to find out. In this article, I will be looking at some of the history of Tik-Tok, what makes it so special, and why is it so controversial. 

First, let me start with some history about Tik-Tok which isn’t widely known. 

Tik-tok originally started as an app called Musical.ly. It was formed by 2 chinese entrepreneurs in 2014. In 2017, Musical.ly was acquired by a Beijing tech company called byte-dance. At around this time, the short video sharing company Vine also shut down. This caused a gap in the short video sharing softwares. Tik-tok (the new name for Musical.ly) filled up this gap.

Secondly, what makes Tik-Tok so special. Isn’t it just another video sharing company? Yes, it is, but there are some aspects of Tik-tok that make it extremely entertaining for people. So entertaining that millions of people spend hours watching every single day! Here are some of those aspects. Tik-Tok is perfect for people with 3 second attention spans. Almost all of the videos don’t even cross 15 seconds! This makes it immensely popular among a large group of people. They can just open the app, view a video and just swipe down to see the next. It is all very simple. Tik-Tok is also able to curate special content for each and every individual user based on their interests and how they react to videos. Another aspect of Tik-Tok that gives it some leverage over its rivals is that making and uploading content is much simpler. In Tik-Tok, you can easily just record videos and have vast amounts of video and audio filters at your fingertips. On apps like Instagram and Snapchat,uploading videos takes a lot more preparation and time. Popular Tik-tok users often create these Tik-Tok challenges that encourage others to make a video doing a certain thing. All these aspects make Tik- Tok a trend.

Finally, I will explain why Tik-Tok is so controversial, to the extent that India actually banned its use in the country? Tik-tok actually gets access to your camera and your location.  This data is then transmitted to China where it is in the control of the Communist party. Even though Bytedance says it won’t give its data to the Communist party, we can never really know. Hence Tik-tok is now banned in India. US president Donald Trump has also passed an order that will ban Tik-tok in the US unless they surrender their control to a US based company like Microsoft. Many other countries are also having concerns about Tik-tok.

All this may eventually lead to a worldwide ban on Tik-tok but it would have undoubtedly been one of the most successful social-media platforms. 

Sources

Haubursin, Christopher, director. The Problem with Banning Tik Tok. The Problem with Banning Tik Tok, Vox, 29 Aug. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAsXGN2OX0c. 

Corder, Josh. “Why Is TikTok so Popular? An Investigation.” Esquire Middle East, 13 Oct. 2019, www.esquireme.com/content/38599-the-beauty-of-tiktok-as-explained-by-a-fellow-normie. 

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