Currently, the most rapidly expanding social media network online is TikTok, a popular short video-sharing app.
The controversial platform has garnered over 2 billion downloads in over 200 countries and 75 languages in only the past four years, putting it on par with industry giants like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Netflix.
The app has been widely successful in many regions, but its core ideas are being questioned by people and governments around the world. The Indonesian authorities banned the app for a week in 2018 after receiving complaints about offensive material and blasphemy. In 2020, the Indian government banned the app for political reasons. Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, tried to have TikTok banned out of fears for American security.
Even with these problems, TikTok’s popularity continues to grow in many different places. This has a big impact on international markets and the future growth of U.S. internet businesses in other countries.
TikTok’s Development and Significance
TikTok, a tech firm established in Beijing, is an unusual success story because of the many attempts at rebranding it endured before it became a global hit. The original version of what is now known as TikTok was released to the public in 2014 in Shanghai, China, under the leadership of Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. All Musical.ly accounts were automatically merged into TikTok in 2018. This followed ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly in November 2017 for around $1 billion. Overtaking Twitter and Reddit in popularity,
TikTok is now the sixth most popular social media platform. TikTok is the third most searched topic on YouTube and has over 689 million active users throughout the world as of January.#
With the help of AI, TikTok is able to learn about its users’ interests and tailor their feeds to them, keeping them on the app for longer. The programme not only produces customised feeds for each user, but also makes it so that users are less reliant on their followers as a source of regular content. TikTok’s “For You Page” puts the accent on content from users they don’t follow, connect with, or know, as opposed to Instagram or Twitter. TikTok has developed over time, and its creators now promote the app’s platform as being “for everyone.” Tikis for everyone! The hashtag #tiktokisforeveryone attracts millions of daily views.
Debunking Disinformation, One Viral Video at a TimeTikTok was no exception to the rule during the COVID-19 epidemic; user activity across all social media platforms spiked during this time.
Recent research from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue found that vaccination-related fake news had over 20 million views and 2 million likes, comments, and shares. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has given her support to the Ministry of Health’s plan to use TikTok to counteract the spread of false information about COVID-19 among young people. Although the app can be manipulated by trolls, official institutions like the World Health Organization are using it to counter vaccine scepticism with fresh, interesting, and easily digestible content.
Facilitating the development of small businesses The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and TikTok for Business teamed up earlier this year to aid SMEs in developing digital growth strategies. Small firms account for 90% of legal private sector operations in Arab countries, yet only 8% of these businesses actually get loans from banks, making rapid expansion a significant challenge for most of these companies. To help promote business and education in Dubai, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and TikTok have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Dubai Chamber—TikTok Academy.
Already 300 businesses have benefited from the instructional programme designed to help 1,000 diverse startups with validation, scaling, and expansion. Participants commit to the two-year programme by enrolling in a four-week training course designed to teach students business skills such as content marketing, advertising, and optimization. Because TikTok is used for more than an hour every day, small businesses may have a better chance of engaging with and getting the attention of their target audience there than on any other social media platform.
Now, What? TikTok’s marketing potential is expanding along with its user base, so it could soon be used in the payment processing, food delivery, and e-commerce sectors. There is widespread agreement that social media has had an effect on the global development sphere, particularly in the realms of political advocacy and the furtherance of institutions’ goals. However, there is also widespread scepticism regarding the genuine significance of such platforms.
TikTok is still a young app, but its popularity and genuine user interaction can help the development community by shedding light on people-first research. As TikTok continues to draw in a wide range of users, the IT industry will have to come up with ways to adapt to the platform’s popularity and communicate effectively with its new users.