· 750 million downloads in the last 12 months
· Fame and fortune can come quickly on social media with the right strategy, but at what cost? Do
you really know who owns TikTok
Do you happen to know a teenager? Brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin, someone? Well, if you can answer “yes” you can also likely testify to their obsession with the social media app, TikTok. For those of you who haven’t heard of the latest craze, TikTok is a video-sharing platform and perhaps the world's fastest-growing social media platform. The users of this app are predominantly under the age of 17, with occasional appearances from celebrities like Jimmy Fallon or Reese Witherspoon. TikTok functions as a host for the teens around the country to share their attempt at a latest dance craze Drake’s In My Feelings challenge or the infamous and dangerous skull breaker challenge. As Forrest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.”
TikTok is the perfect case illustration for how quickly trends can flourish in 2020. However, we are here to tell you that it is a social network that has nothing to do with one’s social network. It doesn’t ask you who you know or who you might know for that matter. Rather, it relies heavily upon large-scale AI models that craft “personalized” content for each user based on videos they have watched previously.
Essentially, the app is a constant stream of content that will never stop and has the capability to distract like no other platform. Americans have been prepping for this kind of app for years with the rise of Instagram and Snapchat, but there is no other platform with the sole intention of retaining your attention of meaningless 5 second videos from complete strangers.
That’s all great, but where does George Orwell come into play? Right here. In December, a class-action lawsuit was filed in California against TikTok with allegations that the Chinese-owned company has been illegally collecting and sending young users’ data back to its parent company, ByteDance. China = Big Brother.
Check out our podcast on Tik Tok:
TikTok has been benefiting from this data by delivering targeted ads or selling personal information from users 18 and under to companies who would also like to target ads to their teenage base demographic. The U.S. government has also launched a national security review into the app. In fact, last February, ByteDance was hit with a $5.7 million fine from the Federal Trade Commission for selling personal data the belonged to children under the age of 13.
China blocks a plethora of foreign content from openly existing online within its borders, yet is developing cutting-edge technology that is spreading rapidly throughout the world. What’s more? TikTok is not available in China.
Consider yourself warned.