Rise of TikTok

TikTok is a widely used and popular social media app. It allows users to create and share short-form mobile videos. These videos are usually around 15 seconds long, and the type of videos shared include lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. In creating their videos, users can choose from a wide array of songs, sound effects, and sound bites.  

The Chinese-owned app brings together individuals from across the world, creating a sense of community and encouraging creative expression. Users can collaborate with others, for example,  through a duet with a fellow user, by replying to a video they have uploaded, which creates a split screen diptych. It feeds into an almost endless chain of reactions. Users can also upload their own sounds so it is possible to lipsync to somebody else’s original video. 

TikTok gained popularity given its playful and easy-to-use nature. In September 2018, it surpassed Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat in the number of monthly installs. It was downloaded more than a billion times in 2018 through the App Store. 

However, the app is not without its controversies. For example, the Indian government called for Google and Apple to take down the app after a court expressed its concerns over the spread of pornographic material. The app was already banned in Bangladesh and was fined heavily in the US for illegally collecting information from children. 

The following statement was published by Syeda Rabia Urooj in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2019. I would like to draw attention to the misuse of an app called ‘TikTok’, by the youth. Even though I belong to the same generation, I believe the app that was intended for harmless fun has become more of a nuisance. It has slowly become the need of every teenager, and they waste hours using this app.” 

Is TikTok good or bad? 

The app is much like other social networking and entertainment technologies, having both advantages and disadvantages. The app may have possibly been made for fun, but the utilisation of the app is up to the users. It is the responsibility of individuals to be cautious of how they choose to use the app or let it affect their life l. However, as some news articles suggest, if in fact the app may be collecting information without the consent of the user, that issue must be addressed, and the public should be made aware of the concerns for their safety.

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