TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms, with 20.83% of the 4.8 billion internet users using the video-sharing application.
The internet has yet to see a new platform boom as it has seen with TikTok.
It has managed to do this all within only four years of being open to the public.
Who Owns TikTok?
ByteDance owns TikTok, despite there previously being talks of selling the company to an American company.
This Chinese tech company has achieved its aspirations of being as big as some of its competitors, such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu.
ByteDance is based in Beijing, China, and has offices all over the world.
Some of its American branches are located near Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, and Mountain View.
The company has 36 offices across 23 countries, not all of which are used for TikTok.
ByteDance also owns Helo, Vigo Video, BaBe, Huoshan, and Douyin.
Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok and shares all the same features.
Huoshan is another platform for short videos but differs from TikTok in the services that it provides.
What ByteDance has done better than its competitors is create applications for the everyday consumer.
TikTok is its most popular business venture by far, having earned it worldwide fame.
TikTok was created in 2018 after ByteDance purchased the popular music-video application Music.ly.
Under ByteDance’s leadership, Music.ly became even more popular as TikTok after being able to attract major brands and publishers.
As more social media stars and brands began adding TikTok to their rotation of social media platforms, the application was able to prove that it was just as useful for brands as it was entertaining for consumers.
TikTok was also able to do something that older social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook couldn’t.
It attracted younger audiences.
By 2019, ByteDance had found that 69% of its audience was aged 16 to 24 and 25% of its audience was over the age of 25.
TikTok is now an application that has been accepted by older audiences and proven that it’s perfect for everyone, not just youth.
Who Owns ByteDance?
Zhang Yiming is the owner and founder of ByteDance.
He was the CEO and former chairman of the company when ByteDance decided to purchase Music.ly, but he has since stepped down from his role as CEO.
Zhang owns an estimated 22% stake in the company and has a net worth of $53.2 billion.
Although he may not feel he is the proper person to lead the company, he is now able to sit back and collect the money thanks to his stake.
Zhang Yiming was born in the Fujian province of China in 1983 to parents who were both civil servants.
When he first began studying at Nankai University, he studied microelectronics before he decided to switch his degree to software engineering.
When Zhang started his first software engineering job shortly after graduating in 2004, he worked as Kuxun’s first software engineer.
Kuxun was a digital travel booking startup company.
Only a year after being in the position, Zhang was leading a team of 40 to 50 people.
Shortly before Zhang would go on to create ByteDance, he worked for Microsoft as well.
The skills he learned while working for Kuxun and Microsoft gave him the proper examples of how to run an online company.
ByteDance was founded in 2012 and the first application ByteDance released was a news application called Toutiao.
TikTok was first released by ByteDance under the name Douyin to Chinese markets in 2016.
The application was an immediate hit in its home country and quickly became one of the most popular applications on the internet.
When TikTok went to the global market, Zhang Yiming believed that his company needed to show other Chinese technology companies the level of determination that they’d need to thrive.
Everything about TikTok needed to be perfect.
Did Oracle Buy TikTok?
No, Oracle was not able to purchase TikTok because ByteDance no longer saw the need to sell the company if it wasn’t being threatened with a nationwide ban in the United States.
Like for many products and services, the American market can make or break a company.
In August of 2020, former President Donald Trump had threatened to ban TikTok in the United States over rumors of the Chinese company wanting to interfere with the affairs of the United States.
Despite the lack of clear evidence of this being the case, TikTok was prepared for the worst.
ByteDance was offered the opportunity to remain available in the United States if ByteDance sold its property to an American technology company.
Although there were many eager bidders wanting to purchase one of the largest growing social media platforms, ByteDance decided to have serious discussions with Oracle and Walmart.
The companies were able to strike a deal that pleased both of them, but months of delays and legal challenges pushed back the purchase date until after the former president had left the office.
With the threat of being banned no longer in play, ByteDance decided to officially take TikTok off of the market.
Originally, Oracle and Walmart were going to take over 20% of TikTok Global for $12 billion between the two companies.
Walmart wanted its stake in the company because of the vast audience it attracts and how well it appealed to the younger generations.
Oracle is the company behind the cloud technology that Zoom and Amazon Web Services use.
Its involvement could have led to advancements in the cloud technology that TikTok uses currently.
At the current time, it doesn’t seem like ByteDance wants to even entertain a conversation with Walmart or Oracle about the sale of its most popular application.
Was Microsoft Going To Buy TikTok?
No, but Microsoft definitely wanted to purchase its former employee’s most successful application.
Although Microsoft may be better known for creating computer and gaming software, having TikTok in its back pocket would have helped expand its reach greatly and help its sales in countries like China and Japan.
However, ByteDance had a problem with the requirements that Microsoft had for the sale.
Microsoft wanted full control over the application’s American operations, data, source code, and the algorithm that TikTok uses.
In later offers, Microsoft asked for less control and even teamed up with Walmart in order to offer anywhere from $20 billion to $30 billion.
ByteDance saw Oracle as the more trusted option for a co-owner of TikTok, having seen the success that the company found with Zoom.
When chief executive Satya Nadella was first presented with the potential to purchase TikTok, he was excited because it was exactly what Microsoft liked.
TikTok was a cloud-based service that used AI to pair consumers with their favorite kind of content.
However, Nadella also claimed that the entire deal was “the strangest thing” he had ever experienced as a businessman in the technology industry.
Only a few days before ByteDance’s deadline to sell TikTok, Microsoft received a notice from ByteDance that its offer had been declined, and news quickly broke out about Oracle and Walmart being the new potential owners of TikTok.
The strangest part of the deal was how all talks of ByteDance selling TikTok immediately stopped when President Biden took over the White House and put off the sale of the company.
Although Microsoft has failed to purchase many potential technology-based businesses, none of its attempts have stopped overnight.
Many consumers wonder how Microsoft’s other products might have changed if it had gotten ByteDance to agree to its initial offer.
Where Is TikTok Banned?
The only country that has completely banned TikTok is India, but multiple other countries have attempted to ban it.
The decision to ban TikTok came after India began to have border conflicts with China.
By 2021, India had completely shut down TikTok.
This heavily damaged the Indian online creator community, leaving many of those creators to either build new audiences on new platforms or simply find new careers.
Pakistan has banned and unbanned TikTok multiple times, starting in October of 2020.
In order to get the application unbanned in the country, TikTok had to regulate content based on what the Pakistani government requested.
It also had to delete nearly six million videos from that branch of the platform.
Indonesia and Bangladesh both nearly banned TikTok after they claimed that it was exposing their people to pornography and was causing an increased amount of gambling in the country.
The countries also wanted disrespectful videos about their religion or culture to be removed as well.
They believed that they’d lower the amount of inappropriate content that their citizens were consuming by banning TikTok.
Instead of getting banned, ByteDance agreed to monitor videos based on the countries’ requirements.
Although ByteDance has managed to avoid most of the potential bans, it doesn’t seem like India has any intention of lifting its ban on the application.
The country firmly believes that the application could be a breach of national security and be the deterioration of its culture.
However, the country still allows ByteDance’s other application Helo to operate freely.
Helo is another social media platform that allows users to post about their daily lives in the form of videos and private messages between friends.
Helo was started in 2018, only two years after the release of TikTok.
Is TikTok Going to be Banned In The United States?
No, current President Joe Biden and his administration decided to back off of ByteDance by February of 2021.
The Department of Justice has indicated in court filings that it has decided to drop the case against ByteDance and TikTok.
After the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab was unable to find any “overtly malicious behavior,” fewer people began to see TikTok as a threat to national security.
While there are still the seeds of fear sown by early accusations against the social media platform, TikTok has proven that it’s not worth wasting resources investigating.
Some people have theorized that the ban in the United States still wouldn’t have been enough to kill the platform.
The massive global success that ByteDance has found with TikTok has given it a near-perfect sense of invulnerability.
In addition, consumers are becoming more technology-savvy, and many consumers were ready to get the application through alternative methods if the ban had gone through.
To this day, TikTok is still welcoming millions of new users every single day.
Another reason that TikTok never got banned was that former President Donald Trump never could take down TikTok single-handedly or immediately.
One judge in the United States even went as far as to block the former president’s efforts in stopping people from downloading the application.
Only two months later, Judge Carl Nichols also chose to block the president’s decision because he felt that the president had breached his emergency economic powers by pressing for the immediate removal of the application.
After December of 2020, the former president and his administration had appealed the decision to block the executive order.
However, no new arguments were brought to explain why.
Most people in the courtroom knew that a deal could not be struck before Trump’s term as president had ended.
Does TikTok Collect Your Personal Information?
Yes, TikTok does collect some of your personal information.
However, it is no more information than any other platform would collect.
When platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram collect your personal information, it isn’t for nefarious reasons.
Instead, these platforms are trying to provide the best content for your demographic and your personal interests.
One of the first ways that TikTok gets information about you is from the cookies and other online trackers.
Cookies are small packages of data sent to your browser when you visit a website.
These cookies help sites remember you when you go back.
Once you have made an account with TikTok, you grant the application access to know what kind of device you’re using, your location, your search history, and your IP address.
While you are using the application, TikTok collects information such as the content of your messages on the platform, what videos you have viewed, and how long you have viewed certain videos.
You can also let the application know what you want to see more of by engaging with different posts.
Engaging with a post may include commenting, liking it, or just simply watching it.
Through your interactions on the application, TikTok infers information such as your age range, gender, and personal interests.
It also looks at how you interact with different advertisements, such as if you actually look at them and if you end up leaving the application to look at the advertiser’s website.
In the United States, TikTok is also allowed to collect biometrics such as the way your face looks and your voiceprint.
All of this information is used to help better tailor content and advertisements to individual accounts.
Anything that you do on the platform is tracked because users are just as much the consumers as they are the product.
Why Is TikTok Being Investigated?
TikTok is currently being investigated by a bipartisan group led by New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas because lawmakers want to look into the way that major technology companies like ByteDance affect the young people in the US.
Similar investigations have been done with Facebook and YouTube in the past, but many seem to echo the same lesson of the importance of moderation.
If the investigation led by Balderas and his team finds any instances of children being harmed, ByteDance could face legal ramifications in the United States once again.
The investigation team consists of state attorneys general from New Mexico, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Florida, Vermont, and Tennessee.
Their goal is to specifically investigate the way that the application boosts its user engagement among its teenage audience.
Balderas fears that the addictive nature of TikTok’s algorithm is causing modern teenagers to consume social media at a rate that has never been seen before.
Everyone knows that too much time on social media isn’t good for anyone’s physical or mental health.
Some of the most common medical problems that arise from too much social media use include depression, eating disorders, and other body image issues.
However, this isn’t the only problem to have arisen on TikTok.
Some social media challenges posed on TikTok have led to theft, vandalism, bullying, and even fighting.
One challenge had teenagers taking entire sinks out of their schools’ bathrooms and seeing if they could get away with stealing them.
Another trend had high school students trying to see how many fights they could get into and win.
This has led to many students getting suspended.
Like many other social media platforms, TikTok has become a popular place for cyberbullying.
More than one in six high school students have experienced cyberbullying in the last year alone.
What Does TikTok Plan On Doing Next?
TikTok has aspirations of becoming the next Facebook, a social media platform that provides its users with everything they need to connect with others and remain entertained.
With the rapid growth that TikTok has experienced, it has a chance of knocking Facebook from its throne.
ByteDance is currently expected to post a revenue growth of 60% by the end of 2022 from last year.
TikTok was the first non-Facebook application to reach three billion users from around the world and has been able to connect with a much younger audience than Facebook.
TikTok shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and will remain a popular worldwide application, no matter what country bans the application.