TikTok has taken the whole world by storm.
Although the social media platform was once scoffed at for being some silly app for young children, it has created celebrities out of the platform’s most popular creators.
TikTok has become a rival for other social media platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube.
Its competitors have even copied TikTok’s short, audio sampling videos for their own platforms.
TikTok’s history may be recent, but it has impacted the way that people enjoy entertainment.
When Was TikTok Made?
TikTok was made in 2018 by the software company, ByteDance.
When it was first released, it was only available in mainland China.
It has since expanded to more than 150 different countries, with offices all over the world.
The video-sharing app has not always been called TikTok.
When it was first created, the app was called Musical.ly.
Musical.ly was started by a couple of friends in one of their mothers’ garages in 2014.
In 2016, ByteDance had created Douyin, which was similar to Musical.ly.
ByteDance is a major technology company in China and was able to buy Musical.ly from its original creators in 2017.
They spent $1 billion to buy the company that had offices in Shanghai and California.
When ByteDance had the rights to Musical.ly, they decided to combine it with their app, Douyin.
Once the two apps were combined, ByteDance decided to rebrand the social media app to TikTok in 2018.
TikTok got all of its iconic features from Musical.ly, such as the short video clips and the ability to share audio between the clips.
During the transformation from Musical.ly to TikTok, all the accounts from the previous app and all of their information were transferred onto the TikTok platform.
Users didn’t seem to mind as their platform began to grow rapidly.
By February of 2019, TikTok had managed to gain one billion users worldwide.
ByteDance was quickly making back the $1 billion they spent to obtain the app’s best features.
While TikTok’s user base had begun to spread across, so did their offices.
ByteDance had already acquired the offices in Beijing and Los Angeles, but later placed offices in Moscow, Mumbai, Tokyo, and Seoul.
Now in 2021, the application has 1.1 billion active users.
TikTok’s Algorithm For Viewers
A major part of TikTok’s success can be attributed to the app’s unique algorithm.
An algorithm is the coding sorting system that decides what to show to individual users or the entire platform.
Most social media platforms’ algorithms are tailored to each user’s history of views, clicks, likes, and dislikes.
TikTok uses three factors in order to decide what to show to users.
By combining information such as user interaction, video information, and account settings, TikTok’s algorithm tries to determine what you like and give you copious amounts of it in order to keep you on the app for as long as possible.
The first factor that TikTok uses to promote certain videos to their consumers is user interaction.
Based on the videos a user views, likes, comments on, and even creates, TikTok’s algorithm tries to figure out what they want to see more of.
They also base their guesses on who a user follows.
The second factor that TikTok reviews is all the information from the video.
Video information can include captions, the sound clips used, and the hashtags a video creator decides to use.
Video creators who keep an eye on popular hashtags tend to get more interactions with their posts.
The last factor that is used to determine the desired content users are looking for is the information gathered from their account and device.
TikTok takes into consideration your language preference, which country your account is set in, and the type of device you are using.
TikTok’s algorithm also focuses on the level of interest that each user has in certain topics or trends.
The level of interest is based on how long the user watches a video.
When a user watches a video from the beginning until the end, this is considered a strong indicator of interest.
TikTok’s Algorithm For Creators
Although TikTok hasn’t released any information on what they want from content creators, many of the creators have been smart enough to figure out what viewers are attracted to.
There are a few tips that have been spread around the platform in order to help newer creators and users.
TikTok creators have figured out that TikTok is more likely to recommend shorter videos because it is easier for viewers to stay engaged with shorter videos than longer videos.
Short videos are also more likely to be rewatched. TikTok may allow you to create 60-second-long videos, but the most popular videos are about 15 seconds long.
The next tip is to have a short introduction.
If your video is short, you don’t have time for a long-winded explanation of who you are.
Viewers are going to be more likely to swipe away from your video unless you have an intriguing hook or introduction.
Unless you have heat-of-the-moment content that is comedy gold, your videos are going to need to have high video quality.
Why would a viewer take time to watch a grainy, fuzzy video when they can watch clips with higher video and sound quality?
You should look into how you are captioning your videos.
If you are looking for more engagement in the comment section of your videos, try asking a question pertaining to the video.
For example, if you’ve made a cooking video, try asking your viewers if they have tried the recipe themselves or what they do differently for their recipe.
Another part of your caption involves the hashtags you are using.
Hashtags are a great way for TikTok to learn who they should try recommending your video to.
Your hashtags will need to be pertinent to your video because, otherwise, you may not get much user interaction.
The Creator Fund
There’s more to being popular on TikTok than doing it for the likes, followers, or fame.
You can actually get paid to create content for TikTok.
The Creator Fund was started in July of 2020 and has been a massive success for TikTok.
It has found plenty of new talent and attracted new users to the platform.
All you need to do is have a minimum of 10,000 followers and have gotten 10,000 views in the last 30 days.
Then, you will need to switch your account to “Pro” in your account settings and tap the “Apply for Creator Fund” option.
The option will be grayed out if you are not eligible to join.
You will also need to be over the age of 18.
Those who have joined the Creator Fund say that the payout isn’t as much as you would expect and is wildly different for each video.
Some videos get less interaction and yet still manage to make a decent amount of revenue.
Then some videos have plenty of interaction and make barely any revenue.
Some of TikTok’s content creators have been a bit irritated with the unpredictability of the app.
They want TikTok to come and be clearer about what they are looking for.
TikTok may not want to say anything because they’re worried that everyone will only create content that is profitable rather than creating unique and entertaining videos.
Many creators believed that joining the Creator Fund resulted in them getting fewer views.
A member from TikTok’s talent management and operations told reporters that this wasn’t true.
Joining the Creator Fund does not affect how many views you get, how likely your video is to be shown to other users, or how many likes you are likely to get.
Creator houses have become a massive part of TikTok’s history and present.
Creator houses are literal houses where multiple content creators will live together and make content together daily.
While these were first seen on YouTube, TikTok has blown up the idea.
These houses usually consist of a large house or even a mansion, and a group of young adults who make videos for TikTok.
The group will perform in videos, record videos for other creators, and even help with post-production.
Creator houses can be excellent ways for creators to learn and grow, helping grow talents such as Addison Rae, Bryce Hall, the D’Amelio sisters.
However, many creator houses end up causing chaos for the neighborhood they’re located in.
The first problem with content houses is the frat-like parties that are frequently thrown.
These parties are massive, messy, and loud.
Cars will line the driveway and streets, clogging up the residential roads.
When the lockdowns began, there was an alarming number of parties still being thrown at these creator houses.
The California government had to resort to turning off the water and power at these houses in order to get the partying to stop, even after demanding the creator houses to quit throwing parties.
The second problem with TikTok creator houses is that fans of the house members will often come to the neighborhood they live in.
While some may just want to drive past the house, other fans will wait outside in large groups or even crowds.
These groups are often loud and physically in the way of residents who live on the street or in the area.
This has been especially dangerous due to the pandemic.
Fans will bombard neighbors of creator houses, probing them with million questions and making residents feel unsafe and crowded.
TikTok’s Effect On The Music Industry
TikTok’s musical side is one filled with unseen talent.
Many independent musicians have found that TikTok is the perfect place to build a loyal audience.
The social media aspect may be a more personal aspect to watching and supporting the musicians who start on the platform.
One of the most popular examples of this is Olivia Rodrigo.
She had posted an acoustic version of her original song, Driver’s License, and had the video blow up overnight.
Rodrigo was able to outrank long standing musicians in the music industry.
TikTok has changed how music listeners discover songs and decide to listen to them.
Many TikTok users will hear 15 to 60 seconds of a song and will look into the song if they liked it.
Users will also stream songs that are viral in order to learn the words to make videos with the songs themselves.
For example, not every person who is streaming Bo Burnham’s newest songs is a fan of his.
Many of them are simply trying to learn the words so they can lip-sync along with the popular audio clips that are being used all over TikTok.
Musicians have caught onto this and have begun keeping TikTok in mind while creating their own music.
This leads to songs that are repetitive, easy to memorize, and even easier to dance to.
The focus for musicians has shifted from creative expression or storytelling to how likely the song is to become viral.
In a similar fashion to the era of disco, songs are less concerned about the lyrics and are more concerned about making their listeners want to create their own dance moves.
Popular dance moves are shared throughout the social media platform in the same way that dance moves were shared at the dance clubs of the 1970s.
TikTok Bans Around The World
TikTok has been banned in six different countries.
Those six countries include India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Armenia, Pakistan, and China.
TikTok was almost banned in the United States, as well.
India has banned TikTok for multiple reasons.
The first reason the ban was put into place was that the Madras High Court believed that TikTok “promoted pornography”.
They were also worried that children were at a high risk of being preyed on by sexual predators on the app.
The second ban that was put into place against TikTok was India’s ban on nearly 60 other Chinese apps.
Just as India has banned TikTok, Bangladesh has also banned TikTok for reasons related to pornography.
Bangladesh is currently fighting a war on pornography.
Banning TikTok hasn’t been Bangladesh’s only move to “create a safe and secure internet for all Bangladeshis, including children”.
The government has also been heavily monitoring the social media pages of their citizens and asking their citizens to take down photos that are considered too suggestive.
Pakistan has banned and unbanned TikTok three times, requesting the app take down content that the Pakistani government deemed inappropriate.
By the summer of 2021, TikTok denied another request from the government to take content down and the government responded by banning the app for a fourth time.
In China, TikTok isn’t banned, but it also isn’t even available.
It is unavailable in China because it has content that isn’t from China or hasn’t been approved by the Chinese government.
Instead, Chinese citizens still use Douyin.
These two apps are identical in function.
Nobody knows why TikTok has stopped working like it has been blocked in Armenia since October of 2020.
Most people have speculated that the app was banned for the amount of propaganda that had spread on TikTok.
TikTok’s Ban In The United States
In 2020, TikTok was under scrutiny by the Trump administration for potentially posing a threat to the security of American citizens and their privacy.
Members of the administration claimed that TikTok was selling or simply handing over American users’ information in order to spy on the country, spread propaganda, and meddle in the 2020 elections.
The Trump administration attempted to strike a deal with TikTok in order for them to continue to be allowed in the United States.
They would have to abandon any connection that they had with China, such as their Beijing office, and sell the platform to an American company.
An auction for the ability to buy TikTok was set up by the Trump administration.
The winners of the auction were Oracle and Walmart, who were ready for the opportunity to buy the booming social media company.
Mr. Trump ended up rejecting the offer that his administration had put together.
The deal was cut off when Trump lost the presidential election and Joe Biden took office.
However, the Biden administration has also taken some issues with the app.
Government officials from all political parties have agreed that the United States needs to lower its reliance on China.
They have all also agreed the reliance on the Chinese supply chains for technology components has become too great.
In response to this over-reliance, the United States Senate passed a $250 billion spending package to help boost American technology research and innovation.
America needs to support their own technology companies in order to become more independent.
Additional investigations into whether TikTok is actually giving American users’ information to the Chinese government have been conducted.
TikTok does store information about its users, but there is no more information than Facebook does and no evidence of TikTok giving it away to any country.
TikTok’s Impact On Other Social Media Platforms
It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
If that is truly the case, then TikTok should be feeling extremely flattered because many other social media platforms are trying to capture the same attention that TikTok’s videos are bringing in.
YouTube has launched all-new features on their application in order to keep up with TikTok’s success.
The Google-run video sharing platform recently introduced shorts, which are exactly like TikTok videos.
You can use audio from another video in order to create your own short version.
To help this new feature gain popularity, YouTube has also started its own fund to entice video creators to make more shorts.
It is called the YouTube Shorts Fund.
It is vastly easier to get money through the shorts fund than it is to become a YouTube partner.
In order to be eligible, you must be 13 years old, or whatever the age of majority is in your country.
You must be in a country where shorts and the fund are available and follow community guidelines.
The final requirement is uploading a short that you have created in the last 180 days.
Instagram has also decided to follow in the footsteps of TikTok.
This platform was once known as the photo-based social media, but Instagram’s Company Chief has announced their decision to change Instagram’s focus.
Instagram has already begun introducing their own shorts, which they call reels.
Longtime users have complained that their photos and regular posts don’t get as many views as they used to.
Instead, it’s the reels that get all of the attention.
TikTok was once pushed to the side by all the other major social media companies.
Many people have compared it to Vine and are holding their breath, hoping to see TikTok can outlast its predecessor.