TikTok facts for kids
Screenshot of TikTok.com website
|Initial release||September 2016|
26.4.1 / 8 October 2022
|Available in||40 languages|
List of languages
|Literal meaning||"Vibrating sound"|
TikTok, known in China as Douyin (Chinese: 抖音; pinyin: Dǒuyīn), is a short-form video hosting service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to ten minutes. TikTok is an international version of Douyin, which was originally released in the Chinese market in September 2016. TikTok was launched in 2017 for iOS and Android in most markets outside of mainland China; however, it became available worldwide only after merging with another Chinese social media service, Musical.ly, on 2 August 2018.
TikTok and Douyin have almost the same user interface but no access to each other's content. Their servers are each based in the market where the respective app is available. The two products are similar, but their features are not identical. Douyin includes an in-video search feature that can search by people's faces for more videos of them and other features such as buying, booking hotels and making geo-tagged reviews. Since their launch in 2016, TikTok and Douyin rapidly gained popularity in virtually all parts of the world. TikTok surpassed 2 billion mobile downloads worldwide in October 2020.
Morning Consult ranked TikTok as the third fastest growing brand of 2020, after only Zoom and Peacock. Cloudflare ranked TikTok as the most popular website of 2021, surpassing Google.
TikTok has been subject to criticism over psychological effects such as addiction, as well as controversies over inappropriate content, misinformation, censorship and moderation, and user privacy.
The TikTok mobile app allows users to create short videos, which often feature music in the background and can be sped up, slowed down, or edited with a filter. They can also add their own sound on top of the background music. To create a music video with the app, users can choose background music from a wide variety of music genres, edit with a filter and record a 15-second video with speed adjustments before uploading it to share with others on TikTok or other social platforms. They can also film short lip-sync videos to popular songs.
The "For You" page on TikTok is a feed of videos that are recommended to users based on their activity on the app. Content is generated by TikTok's artificial intelligence (AI) depending on the content a user liked, interacted with, or searched. This is in contrast to other social networks' algorithms basing such content off of the user's relationships with other users and what they liked or interacted with.
The app's "react" feature allows users to film their reaction to a specific video, over which it is placed in a small window that is movable around the screen. Its "duet" feature allows users to film a video aside from another video. The "duet" feature was another trademark of musical.ly. The duet feature is also only able to be used if both parties adjust the privacy settings.
Videos that users do not want to post yet can be stored in their "drafts." The user is allowed to see their "drafts" and post when they find it fitting. The app allows users to set their accounts as "private." When first downloading the app, the user's account is public by default. The user can change to private in their settings. Private content remains visible to TikTok but is blocked from TikTok users who the account holder has not authorized to view their content. Users can choose whether any other user, or only their "friends," may interact with them through the app via comments, messages, or "react" or "duet" videos. Users also can set specific videos to either "public," "friends only," or "private" regardless if the account is private or not.
Users can also send their friends videos, emojis, and messages with direct messaging. TikTok has also included a feature to create a video based on the user's comments. Influencers often use the "live" feature. This feature is only available for those who have at least 1,000 followers and are over 16 years old. If over 18, the user's followers can send virtual "gifts" that can be later exchanged for money.
One of the newest features as of 2020 is the "Virtual Items" of "Small Gestures" feature. This is based on China's big practice of social gifting. Since this feature was added, many beauty companies and brands created a TikTok account to participate in and advertise this feature. With COVID-19 lockdown in the United States, social gifting has grown in popularity. According to a TikTok representative, the campaign was launched as a result of the lockdown, "to build a sense of support and encouragement with the TikTok community during these tough times."
TikTok announced a "family safety mode" in February 2020 for parents to be able to control their children's digital well-being. There is a screen time management option, restricted mode, and can put a limit on direct messages.
The app expanded its parental controls feature called "Family Pairing" in September 2020 to provide parents and guardians with educational resources to understand what children on TikTok are exposed to. Content for the feature was created in partnership with online safety nonprofit, Internet Matters.
In October 2021, TikTok launched a test feature that allows users to directly tip certain creators. Accounts of users that are of age, have at least 100,000 followers and agree to the terms can activate a "Tip" button on their profile, which allows followers to tip any amount, starting from $1.
In December 2021, TikTok started beta-testing Live Studio, a streaming software that would let users broadcast applications open on their computers, including games. The software also launched with support for mobile and PC streaming. However, a few days later, users on Twitter discovered that the software allegedly uses code from the open-source OBS Studio. OBS made a statement saying that, under the GNU GPL version 2, TikTok has to make the code of Live Studio publicly available if it wants to use any code from OBS.
In May 2022, TikTok announced TikTok Pulse, an ad revenue-sharing program. It covers the "top 4% of all videos on TikTok" and is only available to creators with more than 100,000 followers. If an eligible creator's video reaches the top 4%, they will receive a 50% share of the revenue from ads displayed with the video.
Popular TikTok users have lived collectively in collab houses, predominantly in the Los Angeles area.