The Rise and Fall of the TikTok Empire

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the wildly popular video app TikTok—particularly because it has drawn ire from lawmakers in multiple countries. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no doubt that this app has made a global splash—but can it last? Here’s a brief explanation and timeline of TikTok’s successes and failures in Phoenix, AZ and around the world.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is an app that lets users share three- to 15-second videos, usually set to background music. The content creators can edit their videos with filters, hyperlapse, slow motion and other effects, all of which have been used to achieve a variety of effects. For example, some people lip sync and dance to songs, while others act out scenes from Sex and the City (with their cat starring as Samantha, naturally). Even Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac has gotten in on the viral video craze.

The app allows people to follow users and find new content, much like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, with an algorithm that can make some videos go viral. The app uses artificial intelligence to determine what kind of content users might be interested in, and provides a personalized feed.

Critics of the app have slammed TikTok for allegedly filtering out disabled, older or conventionally “unattractive” users, while lawmakers are concerned that the app’s Chinese origins could lead to security concerns for American citizens.

A TikTok timeline

TikTok originated in 2016 in Beijing as a similar video app named “Douyin.” In September 2017, the current version of TikTok was launched in the global market and has reached over two billion downloads worldwide. In 2019, the NFL established a partnership with the app.

However, the app has come under fire in 2020, due to security concerns. The Trump administration has been concerned that TikTok is using American user data to send to the Chinese Communist Party, allowing China to meddle in the American elections. Other speculation has involved TikTok censoring certain content that might be offensive to the Chinese government. At one point, President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to ban the app from the United States, which would be a huge blow to TikTok’s user base.

In July 2020, TikTok’s parent company started a lobbying push to keep TikTok in the United States, transferring operations out of Hong Kong and into other global markets. Microsoft subsequently announced that it would be pursuing a deal to acquire the United States TikTok operations.

The current future of TikTok is anyone’s guess. The wildly popular app has amassed quite a following in the United States. If it were to lose that market, it would also lose out on significant funding.

If you have questions about TikTok and potential security issues for your network in Phoenix, AZ, talk to the team at today. We offer complete cybersecurity services for residential and commercial clients, and have more than 20 years of experience in the industry. We’re ready to help!

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