TikTok is a mobile short video app developed by Chinese company, ByteDance in 2016. Like Vine, TikTok allows its users to upload short videos such as dancing, comedy, talent, and lip-sync that can be viewed and shared by other users. TikTok only became available worldwide in 2018 after merging with Musical.ly, another social media app used to create videos, mostly of lip-singing. ByteDance spent $1 billion to purchase Musical.ly, allowing TikTok to merge with the existing social media app essentially ending Musical.ly and making TikTok a worldwide app.
It has become more difficult for users to stop using TikTok. The app has drawn user’s attention easily through the funny entertaining content. The app also does not require users to follow others or search to see content, just simply open the app and start scrolling for new videos, making the app fairly easy to use. The app also caters to peoples likes, roping users into watching more videos. Another concerning aspect includes the user’s attention span. Due to the short nature of TikTok videos and repeated viewing form users, their attention span could potentially decrease which is concerning for the younger audience whose brains are still developing.
TikTok vs the United States
TikTok became increasingly popular in 2020. During president Trump’s campaign rally, TikTok users falsely grew the attendance at a rally in Oklahoma by purchasing rally tickets and not attending, leaving a small group of supporters to attend. After this situation occurred, the Trump administration began considering the ban of TikTok in the United States. Although the app as not officially banned, the US Commerce Department banned all new US downloads of TikTok and put a stop to software updates.
Although TikTok is depicted as a controversial app that collects user data and leaves them addicted, the app has also brought awareness to social issues, Covid-19, and has brought together a large community of people based on similar likes and interests.