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TikTalk: 10 Quick Facts about TikTok

TikTok is a social media app for creating and sharing short videos that has taken the world by storm. You can scroll through an almost infinite feed of short, punchy videos. There’s dancing, lip syncing, comedy, pets and more! It allows anyone to be a creator, and is quickly turning into a massive sub-culture for Gen-Z!

Users have a multitude of creative tools at their disposal to create viral videos. From filters, sounds and music, to the ability to join in on a video with ’duets’, hashtags, and trending challenges. TikTok prompts and feeds ideas to users, so if you’re not sure what to post, the app will help you along. The app also fills your feed before you’ve even followed or connected with anyone, and its algorithm will show you content on the ‘For You’ page based on the content you’ve watched or interacted with.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and lockdowns around the world, TikTok’s usage has skyrocketed. Here are 10 quick facts about the social media sensation:

  1. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company headquartered in Beijing. ByteDance spent $1billion acquiring, and merged the two apps.

  2. TikTok has 500 million active monthly users, with over 60 million active users in the US.

  3. Last year (2019), the TikTok app had 738M downloads across IOS and Android, making it the second most downloaded app in the world.

  4. TikTok has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.

  5. Chipotle, The NFL, Nike, Skittles, Sunsilk, Fenty Beauty, Pepsi, and Universal Pictures are just some of the big brands taking advantage of TikTok’s popularity and marketing opportunities.

  6. TikTok offers 4 types of advertisements. Hashtag challenges are the most popular type of TikTok advertisements.

  7. Only 4% of marketers use TikTok.

  8. TikTok has a young user-base, with 41% of TikTok users between 16 and 24 years old.

  9. TikTok has the highest follower engagement rate of all the social media platforms.

  10. ByteDance has announced this month, that former Disney’s Head of Streaming, and Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer & International, Kevin Mayer, will take on the role of TikTok’s new Chief Operating Officer, and ByteDance’s new CEO from 1 June.

Despite its massive success and impressive stats, TikTok has had its fair share of controversy. Concerns over safety and privacy have been voiced all around the world. In 2019, TikTok paid a $5.7 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection act . This was for the collection of personal information from kids under 13.

TikTok was also temporarily banned in India for potentially exposing children to inappropriate content and sexual predators, and impacting the mental health of it’s users. The ban was lifted in April 2019, but reportedly cost the app 2 million users. The app was also temporarily banned in Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Concerns have also been raised over the Chinese ownership of the app. According to Chinese law, any data stored and processed in China may be open to state surveillance. However, TikTok’s data collection is not much different to Facebook, Google or Amazon. That being said, there is not much in the way of transparency into how TikTok actually works.

CNN reports that the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is the latest US government agency to ban employees from using TikTok. US military branches have also advised all members not to use the app, and the Department of Homeland Security has banned TikTok from all it’s devices.

TikTok has, of course, responded to many outcries and concerns. Roland Cloutier, TikTok’s Chief Information Security Officer stated in a statement on TikTok’s website that they are “ security practices that may have made sense when the platform was smaller, but which may no longer work at our current scale.” He went on to say that, “Transparency is the foundation of our next generation security programs underway here at TikTok, as we continue to work hard to earn our community's trust. Our Cyber Defense, Security Assurance, and Data Protection programs will be front and center in our new Transparency Center that we recently announced.”

There is clear evidence that TikTok is making the effort to improve privacy and security measures, and to work together with parents and agencies to keep children on the app safe. With it’s growing popularity, this is an app that is hard to ignore, for marketers, brands and anyone who wants to keep a finger on the pulse of pop culture and the ever-influential Generation Z. We’ll definitely be keeping a keen eye on the developments at TikTok, and we have a feeling it's not going away any time soon! #TikTok #SocialMedia

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