Mobile Internet

TikTok: From troublemaker to record-breaker in a whoosh

TikTok is an application which was launched about two years ago. It is owned by a company named ByteDance and is renamed for the international market from Douyin. It is an application which allows users to share videos personally, to other users and also live broadcast. The app has gained a lot of attention worldwide.

It is ranked number among the free mobile apps in Thailand. It has been among the best applications on the app store. In 2017, ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok acquired Musical.ly for $1 billion. This opened up markets for them in the US. They entered in the Indonesian market as well in September of 2017.

It was also reported as the most downloaded app in the world on Apple’s App Store. There are a total of 500 million monthly users out of which 150 million users in China are daily users. Its ‘challenge’ category is the most exploited category on the application. You have to complete a short video challenge like ‘choose your character’ where you have to mimic a video game character.

The application does not have any advertisements. It makes money through virtual gifts which one can send while live streams or personally and the other is brand collaborations. Brand collaborations can be of any kind and size. A complete fashion takeover is one of its kind and size is huge while many brands can collaborate in smaller ways possible. It is said that TikTok made $3.5 million through the same, although the figure is a rumor, it is the only thing out there to read in terms of money.

That said, this application is hard to digest or understand for the age groups above 25. Mostly known among the teenagers ranging from age 13-20, TikTok has its own perks and disadvantages. If you visit the app you might get hooked up for hours together laughing your belly out or you might uninstall the app after spending only minutes on it.

Like a coin, the application has two faces. One, where you could find content that could make your day and two, which could be suggestive in ways one couldn’t fathom. The latter part has landed the company in trouble a lot of times. There is content on the app that you can safely call ‘for children’ however, there are also videos which can be risqué.

Given the audience the application is aimed at, that kind of content should be moderated. That said, the company is accused of many such things. There are videos where children are exposed to partial nudity and obscene activities and this has earned TikTok a ban in many countries. One of those countries is Indonesia. Indonesia temporarily blocked TikTok for catering to illegal content like pornography and blasphemy.

The app was not functional for the whole week and was unblocked only when changes were made. ByteDance had to set up a government liaison office, remove all the negative content and improve their content mechanism which could filter out videos of such obscenity in the future. This has urged the company to increase its moderators. ByteDance has made sure that TikTok faces no such challenges in the years to come so the app has now increased the number of moderators from 6000 people to 10000 people.

Even though the app is aimed at teenagers there are many famous users who have been trying out the application. The late-night TV shows’ host Jimmy Fallon has a few videos up on the app while YouTube stars like Jake Paul also have been checking it out. All in all, the application is doing well on the popularity front, the only concern that remains is where it has to maintain its content to avoid trouble, again.

– Unmesh Phule

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