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TikTok’s 500 million users worldwide have proved its booming growth and popularity. The social media app has been around since 2018 since it merged with Musical.ly, but only rose to fame earlier this year. Recently, TikTok has ranked No. 7 in the most downloaded apps of the decade and #2 in the most downloaded apps this year.
While the app is best known for creating iconic lip-syncing videos, it has influenced users all around the globe with its videos that consist of different trends like food, dance, music, life hacks and many more. TikTok has quickly become everyone’s favorite app, but is it here for the long-term? Or will it just fade over time?
TikTok may be here to stay
TikTok may be here for a while because of the way it helps users produce content, which is both quick and convenient. The app’s editing features allow for multiple clips to be merged and trimmed in a minute’s time. It also includes various filters, which make it easy to edit and add effects. This is attractive to many influencers and people looking to build their platform easily while creating original content.
TikTok’s feed features its most viral videos, which is unlike the algorithm of other social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. The app’s “For You” page shows the most viral videos, which usually make it to the page by hashtagging #ForYouPage. Personal feeds are tailored to show videos from the pages you follow. Users may prefer this, as it allows them to keep track of and take part in the latest trends on the app.
TikTok has also helped several influencers build up platforms with millions of followers. Charlie D’Amelio is the single most followed account on TikTok with more than 66 million followers. Charlie, alongside other influencers like Addison Rae, Dixie D’Amelio and Lilhuddy who are new to TikTok, gained their newfound fame through the app and built a loyal fan base. Celebrities and YouTube personalities have also hopped on the bandwagon and joined the app. It is safe to say that these followers won’t be going anywhere soon, and neither will these influencers stop producing hot content.
Why TikTok won’t last
While there are plenty of reasons for the app’s popularity, it also has its fair share of flaws. The sad truth is that TikTok will never be able to compete with its widely-used and most popular competing social media apps such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook,or Snapchat.
While TikTok is fantastic for creating content, it lacks the diversity other social media platforms have like being able to post a status with text, photos, videos, daily “stories” and making video or audio calls. Other social media apps have a higher usability rate which makes it easier for users to consume and post content in a variety of forms. For this reason, apps similar to TikTok (such as Vine) have not lasted in the past. Vine shut down in 2016 because it was unable to keep up with competing apps.
Regardless of the pros and cons of the platform itself, TikTok has been making headlines lately for concerns over security issues. Forbes has reported that an Apple update caught the app accessing clipboard content under the new iOS 14 software. In April this year, there were viral posts circulating that TikTok was also used by hackers and traffickers. TikTok has already been banned in India, which happens to be its largest market, over concerns of data sharing with the Chinese government.
TikTok’s American chief executive officer Kevin Mayer responded by insisting that the Chinese government had never requested information about TikTok users, nor would the company comply with such a request should it arise. However, some skepticism remains on the topic considering that TikTok, though it has distanced itself from China, is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Parent company ByteDance is now facing a national security review after data-sharing allegations.
A recent security law passed in Hong Kong has exacerbated these concerns, resulting in major companies rethinking their position of operating within the region. Scrutiny has gone so far that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hinted that the United States government is looking into the app, even going so far as to suggest that users should download TikTok “only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
It’s hard to say whether TikTok is here for the long run considering its high and low points. The app’s popularity suggests that it will be here for a while. The platform has become a source of social trends and cultural phenomena that even nonusers are starting to recognize. However, with political push backs and security concerns, it’s possible that the app may face great obstacles that threaten its longevity.
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