During the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok has transformed from a small-time short video-sharing app into a global phenomenon. Home to more than 800 million active users, TikTok has become the trendsetting app for viral dance moves, a startup for up-and-coming social media stars, and a vast space for marketers and social media experts. However, this may soon change.
TikTok users have been facing an emotional roller-coaster with the recent news about the content-sharing application. With that said, let us check out the rise and the probable fall of TikTok.
The Birth of an App
Tiktok owes its presence to its predecessors Vine and Musical.ly, two short-form content-sharing applications that launched the careers of Shawn Mendes and Jacob Sartorius. With these two apps’ powers to encourage content-sharing through lip-synching, dancing, pranking, and covering songs, Chinese tech giant ByteDance was incentivised to buy Musical.ly in 2018 and develop an app that would soon take over the world – TikTok.
How TikTok Became The ‘It’ App
From its launch in 2018, TikTok has become one of the most downloaded applications in both the Android and Apple Stores. In 2020, TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times across all platforms and has approximately 800 million active users every day.
TikTok has launched the careers of Charli D’Amello (78 million followers) and Addison Rae (57 million followers), and in the Philippines, Kim Arda, Macoy Dubs, and Miss Everything.
It has also become a source of new trends (Duets, Boyfriend Check), dance covers (Renegade, Savage), and even a space for political discussion (Black Lives Matter) and learning (cooking videos, DIY videos).
TikTok is a cultural phenomenon. With its global impact, the app helped Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road top the Billboard Hot 100 charts for 17 weeks in 2019. TikTok users also created a movement for KPop fans to book tickets for Donald Trump’s campaign rally in the US which resulted in the event having so many empty seats.
Unlike other social media applications, everyone can truly agree that TikTok is surging to become one of history’s most iconic social media applications ever.
What’s The Future For TikTok?
With its so many pros, TikTok has also become a controversial app too. Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan have issued temporary bans on the application due to its ‘obscene, vulgar, and encouragement of pornography.’
Reports of cyberbullying, racism, and body shaming have also become a constant issue throughout the platform. Moreover, according to an article by The Intercept, TikTok moderators were told to suppress content that shows with “abnormal body shape”, “ugly facial looks”, “too many wrinkles”, or in “slums, rural fields” and “dilapidated housing” to prevent bullying.
More recently, the US government announced a potential ban on TikTok due to national security concerns. In addition, India, one of TikTok’s biggest markets, has fully banned the app together with other Chinese apps this year.
With its future uncertain due to these developments, Instagram have launched a short-video sharing app Reels in 50 countries, and Microsoft and Twitter have been rumoured to be in talks to tie-in with TikTok. Moreover, other short-video services are being eyed as an alternative to TikTok, such as Byte, created by the co-creator of Vine.
Now, TikTok’s role in digital marketing services is still big, but it’s future lies in the circumstances of the remaining days of the year. What do you think?
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