TikTok: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

YouTube screenshot

What’s TikTok?

A global music and video platform, it was created in 2016 by Chinese internet technology company ByteDance. TikTok is known in China as Douyin. The video-sharing app has 150 million active daily users and the global app has three times that many subscribers. Most of the videos feature lip-syncing, lots of pets especially cats doing fun stuff, lots of pretty girls, many young, and parkour or other thrill-seeking clips among myriad other short clips.

When YouTube crashed Tuesday night, TikTok was quick to swoop in.

But can a platform with 15-second video clips survive? Think Vine, for example. TikTok took over Musical.ly in 2017 and that addition may have helped increase subscribers so that’s good for its bottom line.

But there’s also widespread criticism of TikTok and some of it based on questionable videos, namely ones that feature scantily clad women and girls with creepy looking guys peering in. The ads for the app have been faulted by Redditors as being disturbing.

“I saw one where a 40 year old looking man made weird faces to a 14 year old midget.”

“I keep getting this ad over and over again, it’s the same girl every time. She’s got some messed up teeth and is just generally trashy looking. Not trying to be mean, I also won’t lie though. What’s up with that? It’s awkward and creepy.”

Here’s what you need to know about TikTok:

1. TikTok Features Very Short Videos & Allows Users to Easily Upload & Edit Short Videos Themselves to Share

View this post on Instagram

Welcome to TikTok! ? ⏰ #MakeEverySecondCount

A post shared by TikTok (@tiktok) on Aug 1, 2018 at 9:14pm PDT

TikTok describes itself as a “global video community.” And with their making every second count, that’s pretty important as there’s just a quarter of a minute of video to view.

“We make it easy for you to watch awesome short videos AND you can also make your own videos by capturing those funny and memorable moments to share with the world. Spice up your videos with our special effects filters, fun stickers, and so much more.”

View this post on Instagram

#MakeEverySecondCount ⏱ #8218

A post shared by TikTok (@tiktok) on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:52pm PDT

But many were upset after the launch of TikTok with Musical.ly, the lip-syncing video social network app that originally launched in 2014 as a prototype and then evolved over the years to, in 2016, have 90 million users. ByteDate, which owns TikTok bought Musical.ly a year ago for $1 billion and married the two apps.

So users can still create lip-syncing videos and edit them as so-called ‘musers,’ a hybrid of music and users.

2. With Its Origins in China, TikTok Quickly Became a Global Video-Sharing Platform With 500 Million Active Users

China’s video-sharing app Douyin, known elsewhere in the world as TikTok, reached “500 million monthly active users worldwide and spread to more than 150 countries and regions,” the company reported in June according to Zinhuanet.

The platform that was launched beyond China in the summer of 2017 is reported to be among the top apps in scores of countries, Zinhuanet reported. A market research company it said reported the TikTok app was downloaded 45.8 million times on iTunes in the App Store in the first quarter, making it one of the most popular apps on the iOS platform, according to market researcher Sensor Tower.

Launched in September 2016, Douyin allows users to create short music videos and instantly gained worldwide popularity, especially among young users. The number of daily active users in China exceeds 150 million.

On its website, Tik Tok says it’s a “destination for short-form mobile videos.”

“Our mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and moments that matter, directly from the mobile phone. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos.”

Based in Los Angeles, its global offices include London, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta, Mumbai, and Moscow.

TikTok is available worldwide.

3. TikTok, Number 2 on iTunes in the Photo & Video Category, Took Advantage of the YouTube Crash to Swoop in Tuesday Night. And It’s Seeking Creators Akin to YouTube Content Creators

The Best Musical.ly Tutorials 2019 | TikTok Musically#Musically_Tutorials #Musical.ly #The_Best_Musical.ly #Top_Musically #Best_Musically #The_Best_Compilation #Tiktok_Musically #Best_Challenge #Best_Muser #Top_Muser #Bes_Dance_Musically #Musically_Singer #Musically_wines #Musical.ly_Comedy #Funny_Musically #Compilation_tiktok2018-09-23T16:15:42.000Z

On iTunes, TikTok is ranked as the number 2 most popular, or downloaded, video sharing app.

Available in 36 languages, the app is rated 12+ for mild crude humor, sexual content and nudity, drug references, mature themes and fantasy violence.

The app is free.

And fast. TikTok took quick advantage of the Great YouTube Crash of 2018′ to seize the opportunity to land more subscribers.

Maybe to attract some whose attention span isn’t a good mix with many YouTubers long videos.

Meanwhile, TikTok is also looking to support people who upload videos in the hopes of video stardom. And monetization, fingers-crossed.

TikTok has the ‘next level’ program that provides tech support, analytics and collaborations. There’s a form to fill out on its website and if thinks one might become a TikTok influencer, they’ll reach out.

4. TikTok Ads Are Described as Being ‘Creepy’ & ‘Annoying.’ But There’s Already Tik Tok Creators With Tens of Millions of Followers

Bad TikTok AdsWith Musical.ly gone and done with, you would think the world cringe levels would go down by at least 30%… I think they went up in hindsight. Also plenty of random ads I've found over the past month. Bit of a crossover episode. Twitter: twitter.com/PeterKnetter Sum merch if u want designbyhumans.com/shop/Patter/ Click Here for my…2018-09-15T14:01:51.000Z

Ironically, it’s the TikTok ads on YouTube that most aggravate users.

“Some of these ads give me the creeps. Have you seen that one with the grey haired pedo looking guy looking at a girls back and ass and then she flips her hair up and she’s a monstrosity of makeup? That gives me nightmares,” a YouTube user posted on Reddit.

When people on Reddit bothered by the ads asked what exactly is TikTok, this explained:

Creepy maybe, but millions are flocking to the video site to connect with popular users like Loren Gray, the pop performer and YouTuber who was a Teen Choice Award nominee and who recently released her first single on YouTube.

Loren Gray – My Story (Lyric Video)"My Story" by Loren Gray is available now! Download or stream here: loren.lnk.to/MyStoryYD LISTEN: Spotify | loren.lnk.to/MyStory/Spotify Apple Music | loren.lnk.to/MyStory/AppleMusic iTunes | loren.lnk.to/MyStory/iTunes Google Play | loren.lnk.to/MyStory/GooglePlay Pandora | loren.lnk.to/MyStory/Pandora Tidal | loren.lnk.to/MyStory/Tidal FIND ME ON: Instagram | instagram.com/loren Twitter | twitter.com/beechloren02 Snapchat | snapchat.com/add/loren Facebook | facebook.com/thelorengray Spotify | loren.lnk.to/Spotify Director: Will Kindrick…2018-08-14T02:00:01.000Z

She has 30 million followers on TikTok.

Baby Ariel – "Gucci On My Body" [Official Lyric Video]My follow up song to "Aww" and "Perf"! Hope you love it!!!! LISTEN HERE: BabyAriel.lnk.to/GucciOnMyBody VIDEO CREDITS: TheAnimationGuys.com FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: @BabyAriel twitter.com/BabyAriel FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM: @babyariel instagram.com/babyariel SNAP ME!: arielxrebecca FACEBOOK.com/OfficialBabyAriel facebook.com/OfficialBaby… LISTEN TO MY PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY open.spotify.com/user/officia…2018-06-14T17:05:42.000Z

Another big ‘muser’ is vlogger, singer, model Baby Ariel who Forbes and others named as a major social influencer. She has 29 million followers on TikTok.

5. Life’s Moving Fast, So Make Every Second Count …With Reaction Videos, Which Appear Both Wildly Unpopular & Wildly Popular

REACT with TikTok!TikTok has a new REACTION feature! Download our app and show us the most creative way you can #react. TikTok – Real short videos. From You. For You. FOLLOW US ON SOCIALS: INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/tiktok/ TWITTER: twitter.com/tiktok_us DOWNLOAD NOW! iOS: bit.ly/2vfml2U Android: bit.ly/2LTnU0T2018-09-22T00:58:29.000Z

“Loving the new react feature! I love reacting to videos from people on this app! I’m glad that there’s a react feature because we used to have to duet videos to react but now, you can have a box that you can move around.”

“@tiktok please delete this from the… from literally everywhere.”

So the reaction feature is essentially self-explanatory: See a video you think is funny? Record your reaction with voice and narration and then share it. This feature is an opportunity for users to insert themselves into the videos they like.

Reaction to ‘reactions’ was mixed.

“Only 12 year fangirls liked this video.”

“Loving the new react feature! I love reacting to videos from people on this app! I’m glad that there’s a react feature because we used to have to duet videos to react but now, you can have a box that you can move around.”

This post was updated to clarify the origins of TikTok.

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