TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a short-form video hosting service owned by Chinese company ByteDance.
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TikTok is an international version of Douyin, which was originally released in the Chinese market in September 2016.
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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.
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TikTok surpassed 2 billion mobile downloads worldwide in October 2020.
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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.
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On 23 January 2018, the TikTok app ranked first among free application downloads on app stores in Thailand and other countries.
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In July 2020, TikTok, excluding Douyin, reported close to 800 million monthly active users worldwide after less than four years of existence.
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In May 2021, TikTok appointed Shou Zi Chew as their new CEO who assumed the position from interim CEO Vanessa Pappas, following the resignation of Kevin A Mayer on 27 August 2020.
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Pakistan banned TikTok citing "immoral" and "indecent" videos on 9 October 2020 but reversed its ban ten days later.
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TikTok was the first non-Facebook app to reach that figure.
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App market research firm Sensor Tower reported that although TikTok had been banned in India, its largest market, in June 2020, downloads in the rest of the world continue to increase, reaching 3 billion downloads in 2021.
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Private content remains visible to TikTok but is blocked from TikTok users who the account holder has not authorized to view their content.
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TikTok has included a feature to create a video based on the user's comments.
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TikTok announced a "family safety mode" in February 2020 for parents to be able to control their children's digital well-being.
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In October 2021, TikTok launched a test feature that allows users to directly tip certain creators.
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In December 2021, TikTok started beta-testing Live Studio, a streaming software that would let users broadcast applications open on their computers, including games.
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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.
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TikTok played a major part in making "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X one of the biggest songs of 2019 and the longest-running number-one song in the history of the US Billboard Hot 100.
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TikTok has allowed many music artists to gain a wider audience, often including foreign fans.
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TikTok removed some of these videos and has generally added links to accurate COVID-19 information on videos with tags related to the pandemic.
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Hyperpop music, including artists like 100 Gecs, became widely used on Alt TikTok, complementing the bright and colourful "Indie Kid" aesthetic.
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Alt TikTok was accompanied by memes with surrealist or supernatural themes, such as videos with heavy saturation and humanoid animals.
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One of the popular videos from Alt TikTok, gaining 18 million likes, shows a llama dancing to a cover of a song from a Russian commercial by the cereal brand Miel Pops, later becoming a viral audio.
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TikTok has provided a platform for users to create content not only for fun but for money.
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Some small businesses have used TikTok to advertise and to reach an audience wider than the geographical region they would normally serve.
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The viral response to many small business TikTok videos has been attributed to TikTok's algorithm, which shows content that viewers at large are drawn to, but which they are unlikely to actively search for .
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In 2020, digital media companies such as Group Nine Media and Global used TikTok increasingly, focusing on tactics such as brokering partnerships with TikTok influencers and developing branded content campaigns.
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Notable collaborations between larger brands and top TikTok influencers have included Chipotle's partnership with David Dobrik in May 2019 and Dunkin' Donuts' partnership with Charli D'Amelio in September 2020.
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On 23 September 2020, TikTok filed a request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the app from being banned by the Trump administration.
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In June 2022, TikTok said that it was moving all of the data produced by its American users through servers controlled by Oracle and it will not expose the personal information of Americans to the Chinese government.
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TikTok has been intermittently blocked in Indonesia on different bases.
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TikTok representatives have spoken with Pakistani officials in hopes of building better relations and allowing the people of Pakistan to create on the platform.
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TikTok uses some top influencers such as Gabe Erwin, Alan Chikin Chow, James Henry, and Cosette Rinab to encourage viewers to stop using the app and take a break.
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In June 2022, TikTok introduced the ability to set a maximum uninterrupted screen time allowance, after which the app blocks off the ability to navigate the feed.
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TikTok has since released tougher parental controls to filter out inappropriate content and to ensure they can provide sufficient protection and security.
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Viral TikTok trend known as "devious licks" involves students vandalizing or stealing school property and posting videos of the action on the platform.
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TikTok has taken measures to remove and prevent access to content displaying the trend.
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In March 2022, the Washington Post reported that Facebook owner Meta Platforms had paid Targeted Victory—a consulting firm backed by supporters of the U S Republican Party—to coordinate lobbying and media campaigns against TikTok to portray it as "a danger to American children and society", primarily to counter criticism of Facebook's own services.
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In January 2020, left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters for America said that TikTok hosted misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic despite a recent policy against misinformation.
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TikTok partnered with the National Association of Secretaries of State to give accurate local information to users.
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TikTok moderators have blocked content that could be perceived as being positive towards LGBT people.
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However, a study by Tracking Exposed found out that TikTok had blocked all non-Russian content but has continued to host old videos uploaded by Russia-based accounts and permitted Russian state media to continue posting, described as establishing a "splinternet" within a global social media platform.
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In October 2019, TikTok removed about two dozen accounts that were responsible for posting ISIL propaganda on the app.
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TikTok's representative stated that TikTok's data is stored in the U S with backups in Singapore.
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In June 2022, BuzzFeed News reported that leaked audio recordings of internal TikTok meetings revealed that certain China-based employees of the company maintain full access to overseas data.
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In September 2022, during testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, TikTok's COO stated that the company could not commit to stopping data transfers from US users to China.
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In May 2020, an advocacy group filed a complaint with the FTC saying that TikTok had violated the terms of the February 2019 consent decree, which sparked subsequent Congressional calls for a renewed FTC investigation.
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In February 2019, the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office launched an investigation of TikTok following the fine ByteDance received from the United States Federal Trade Commission .
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TikTok's noted that the company was potentially violating the General Data Protection Regulation which requires the company to provide different services and different protections for children.
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In February 2022, the incumbent Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, initiated an investigation into TikTok for alleged violations of children's privacy and facilitation of human trafficking.
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TikTok has received criticism for enabling children to purchase coins which they can send to other users.
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TikTok has a stated policy of working from 10 AM to 7 PM five days per week, but employees noted that it was encouraged for employees to work after hours.
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In November 2019, a class action lawsuit was filed in California that alleged that TikTok transferred personally identifiable information of U S persons to servers located in China owned by Tencent and Alibaba.
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TikTok's realized a few months later that TikTok has created an account for her using her information and made a summary of her information.
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In July 2020, twenty lawsuits against TikTok were merged into a single class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
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In February 2021, TikTok agreed to pay $92 million to settle the class action lawsuit.
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Multiple lawsuits have been filed against TikTok, accusing the platform of hosting content that led to the death of at least seven children.
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TikTok stated that search queries for the challenge do not show any results, linking instead to protective resources, while the parents of two of the deceased argued that the content showed up on their children's TikTok feeds, without them searching for it.
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