Who is the owner of TikTok? Users or someone more powerful than them - The Hustler's Digest (2023)

TikTok has become more than just an app in the modern age and time and it can be said without any shadow of a doubt that it has very quickly become a popular phenomenon with its edited video creation features, especially among the youth all over the world. or world.

TikTok has revolutionized the way our societies consume their entertainment content today as it is now no longer about what is your height and what is your eye color or even if you are fat or thin but now all the game revolves around around you being able to use TikTok and make good videos with it.

Previously, only the big stars of Tinsel Town had easy access to high-quality video creation and the rest of the population were just spectators of their art, but now the trend has changed as an ordinary citizen can now make their own movie. . write stuff by just compiling two or three of your best TikTok compilations.

TikTok has also changed the old perception of reality with its new advancements in the field of entertainment, as now you don't need to approach any big name directors or filmmakers to cast them in your next big budget blockbuster (which has the same chance of becoming a flop or a disaster depending on the type of content, script and acting involved).

Now you're a star in your own right, as you have a nice set of special effects editing tools at your disposal when you open thetik tokapp on your cell phone and without even lining up at the entrance to some movie studio, now it makes a home and bedroom video that gets more views on the internet than even a movie these days.

You will likely become a more viral sensation compared to the movie you couldn't be a part of and you may get more followers and likes, comments, DMs and shares on your account than the entire star cast. budget movie

Nowadays everyone follows Tik Tokers, from politicians to bureaucrats, from athletes to actors, so rest assured that you are in the best and brightest hands on TikTok, but now the main question that arises here is what exactly is it? TikTok and if it's a popular video creation app that catapults you to stardom overnight, what's the real force behind it? Who runs it? Who owns TikTok?

table of contents

Who created Tiktok?

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social networking and video sharing mobile app released in September 2016. It is developed by Chinese company ByteDance for the market outside of China. Its counterpart for the Chinese market is called Douyin (literally means “short vibrato video” in Chinese). Its logo evokes a musical note.

Who owns TikTok?

ByteDance, a Beijing-based digital technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming, launched Douyin, a short video sharing mobile app for the Chinese market, in September 2016.

In 2017, ByteDance launched TikTok, the version of Douyin for markets outside of China. Both apps are very similar, but operate on different servers and have different content, in order to comply with Internet censorship requirements in the People's Republic of China and the Great Firewall. Therefore, TikTok is not available in China while Douyin is only present in Chinese app stores.

fastest growing app

The app allows users to create short videos with music from 3 to 180 seconds. TikTok becomes the leading service of its kind in Asia, and the app is considered the fastest growing in every country. It is the music video sharing app that gathers the biggest community. As of June 2018, TikTok reached 150 million daily active users (500 million monthly active users). In the first quarter of 2018, it was the leading mobile app in downloads (estimated at 45.8 million).

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Acquisition of Musical.ly

On November 9, 2017, ByteDance acquired competing Chinese video platform Musical.ly for nearly $1 billion. On August 2, 2018, the company merged the two apps, keeping the TikTok name. This merger, which includes the TikTok name and advertising campaigns from YouTube and Snapchat, has been criticized by French-speaking users. However, Musical.ly's former French-speaking community quickly embraced the new platform.


Fined by the FTC

In February 2019, TikTok was hit with a record $5.7 million fine by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The platform is found guilty of illegally collecting and publicly leaving data on children under the age of 13. This sanction prompted the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to open an investigation into the protection of children on the platform.

Change in Chinese lobbying strategy

In 2019, as a result of regulatory concerns and controversy over its ties to the Chinese state, TikTok hired lobbyists in the United States and Europe, where action is considered proactive, the company has not had significant issues. ByteDance is one of the few Chinese Internet companies lobbying on the mainland. For an EU lobbying expert, this also represents a shift in China's lobbying strategy, both through private companies and the government, and more use of Western methods.

Active app users and confinement

At the end of 2019, the app had over 1 billion users, the third most downloaded app in the world on smartphones, especially teenagers, and is the only social network as popular in the East as it is in the West. As of January 2020, the app has reached 800 million monthly active users, which is equivalent to nearly 1 billion as of the end of April 2020.

The lockdown periods seen during the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 in almost every country in the world are considered to be conducive to this link. TikTok would thus match Instagram, which reached one billion monthly active users, according to its latest figures for June 2018.

American CEO of TikTok

In May 2020, TikTok, which was looking for an American CEO, appointed Kevin Mayer, then head of video on demand at Disney. Mayer also took over as Chief Operating Officer for ByteDance. This recruitment is described as strategic, designed to gain the confidence of the United States in a context where the candidacy is criticized by authorities who suspect it is a threat to national security.

banned in india

In June 2020, the app was added to a list of 59 Chinese apps banned in India, its first market with 158 million users, shortly after a deadly clash between the two countries' militaries at their border. The decision is taken to ensure "the security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace", accusing the application of "stealing and transmitting data from Indian Internet users on servers located outside the territory".

Headquarters outside China after Indian and US bans

Following the app's ban in India and the possibility of a ban in the United States, TikTok's management and parent company ByteDance are considering creating a headquarters outside China for the company and a dedicated board of directors that will allow for more independence for ByteDance.

Hong Kong and Tik Tok

Following the introduction of a national security law in Hong Kong, ByteDance withdrew TikTok access to the territory, citing "recent events", leaving the Chinese version of the Douyin app accessible.

global offices

The app has offices around the world including Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul and Tokyo. To consolidate its growth, it would use "aggressive" methods to attract employees of large Internet companies such as Google and Facebook, including many high-ranking individuals, and offer large-scale sales.

As of July 2020, its parent company ByteDance employed 60,000 people, and in March 2020 it stated that it wanted to reach 100,000 employees by the end of the year. At the same time, the number of TikTok employees visible on the professional social network LinkedIn has exceeded 4,600.

European data center and US app scam

On 6 August 2020, TikTok announced the opening of its first European data center in Ireland, with a total cost of €420 million.

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On August 27, American Kevin Mayer, who took over as General Manager of TikTok and COO of ByteDance in May 2020, announced his resignation, citing a changed political context. This decision is described as a blow to TikTok.

Microsoft is Tik Tok

Following the US government's decision to ban the app in the US if it doesn't find a US buyer by September 15th, Microsoft is in talks with ByteDance to take over the US, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian markets.

In September 2020, ByteDance rejected Microsoft's offer, in favor of Oracle's offer that was selected, the company took an interest in TikTok's operations in the United States and served as a trusted technical and user data management intermediary.

This agreement was rejected on September 18 by the US government, which banned the download of the application in the United States.

Most downloaded app, banned from Facebook and US

At the same time, the government blocked the WeChat application and announced the blocking of TikTok on American soil until November 12, 2020. On September 20, the US government announced the approval of the agreement with Oracle and Walmart and the postponement of the TikTok Download Ban until September 27, 2020.

On April 30, 2021, parent company ByteDance announced a change of direction within TikTok by appointing Shou Zi Chew, former CFO of ByteDance, as CEO of TikTok.

In 2020, TikTok will become the most downloaded app in the world, ahead of Facebook.

app function

TikTok allows users to watch music videos, but also to film, edit and share their own clips. The user selects a song and films it for 60 seconds. The app features multiple titles as well as many music genres including hip-hop and electronic music.

viral trends

As a result of its influence, the app has seen the emergence of several viral trends, popularized several songs, propelled users to the ranks of web personalities, and is also known to be popular among celebrities.

Competitors and TikTok

The app's success sees some of its features taken over by its competitors, including Instagram, which announced a feature called Reels, and a similar new US platform called Thriller. In 2018, Facebook launched Lasso, a similar and competing app, which it abandoned in 2020.


Prior to the platform's ban in India, a significant proportion of users were from that country, 43% according to a March 2019 study. TikTok is particularly popular with Gen Z teens. % of Americans age 13-16 use TikTok, same as Facebook and Twitter but less than Snapchat (68%), Instagram (79%) and YouTube (used by almost everyone).

Business Insider Survey 2019

However, a January 2019 survey on the Business Insider website found that 11% of US internet users ages 13-21 use TikTok daily, significantly less than those other platforms. In France, the platform had 4 million monthly active users at the end of June 2020.

In China, the app will have 500 million users by September 2021.

Tiktok celebrity looks

The platform propels teens and young adults to full-fledged celebrity status, many of whom sign deals with sponsors and art agencies and whose fame can extend beyond TikTok's reach. This makes the famous American teenager Charli D'Amelio, who downloads TikTok during the summer of 2019 and becomes known for her dance videos, before joining her sister Dixie D'Amelio, whose account also becomes extremely popular.

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Queen of TikTok and other stars

In November 2019, the two sisters joined the TikTok content creator collective Hype House, which includes 19 influencers/tiktokers, including Addison Rae and Chase Hudson. In January 2020, Charli D'Amelio signed with talent agency UTA and was dubbed the "Queen of TikTok" by the New York Times.

Within 10 months, her account became the most followed on the platform, surpassing Loren Gray's as of March 25, 2020. She has subsequently reached over 100 million subscribers, as well as 35.859 million on Instagram, 861 million on YouTube and more of 2.2 million. Millions on Twitter.

Victim of harassment and ridicule over her body, Charli D'Amelio and her sister Dixie join forces with Unicef ​​​​​​​​to denounce online harassment and the dangers of celebrity on the platform.

Media on Tiktok

With the success of the application among younger people, several Western media have joined the platform, posting videos adopting its codes, to take advantage of the site's large audience to try to rejuvenate its audience, reaching a generation whose media consumption is different from past generations. .

Washington Post or TikTok

The Washington Post's video creation manager explains that TikTok is very helpful, drawing parallels with its crossword puzzle section. It was heavily maligned by readers before becoming widely known and representing real money inflows and a source of new subscriptions.

O world of TikTok

The newspaper Le Monde joined the platform in June 2020, after the confinement in France that favored its growth in the country.

Media concern about TikTok's concern about Uighurs

The head of its Snapchat/TikTok department says the platform's success on current and social issues such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement is testament to a generation of users who can dabble in complex topics and frequently ask to solve problems. "difficult". . , such as the situation of the Uighurs, which is also known to cause controversy related to censorship on the platform.

Tiktok: an app from China as an important tool of influence

Since 1980, China has experienced considerable economic development, to the point of surpassing the United States in several areas: economic, technological and scientific. Rivalry exacerbates diplomatic relations, as the case of Huawei is a significant example. Everything indicates that the beginning of the Cold War between the two powers is underway, even though the United States maintains a leadership that is decreasing faster than expected (Woodward,

2017; Fontanela, 2020b).

power of china

China has developed powerful industries in nuclear, mobile, rail, space and intelligence in the digital economy, sectors that are likely to own the energy of the future. Party dictatorship is opposed to democracy, which falters in the United States under the political power of billionaires who seem to impose a plutocracy. China is conquering, it is one of the forces of the government and the Chinese Communist Party, it is probably even the cement of national unity (Gravereau, 2017; Frankopan, 2019).

2049 Chinese vision and more

By 2049, Xi Jinping's China wants to become the dominant global economic power (Donnet, 2020; La Maisonneuve, 2019). It is because of the support of Chinese youth, gripped by a geopolitical competition that can only be won by being good citizens obedient to the Party's dictates. On June 20, 2020, Donald Trump probably didn't know about TikTok, until, as part of his election campaign, the Tulsa takeover turned into a failure, into a disaster. By overloading the online booking center, Democratic opponents may have found the parade in what was an election juggernaut in 2016.

Donald Trump, American Politics and Tiktokers

Many teenagers, tiktokers (TikTok subscribers), had reserved seats with instructions to leave the stands. This presentation was disputed by Donald Trump, claiming that his teams were reviewing numbers and tickets assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

The official cause of failure is therefore Covid-19 and the demonstrators who prevented the families from returning. The Tiktokers' action was not denied, and it must be added that the Democrats, including Bernie Sanders, had already participated in a series of class actions carried out as part of an application that was widely seen and supported by young people around the world. . world.

TikTok and US Institutions

However, the lesson was not forgotten, especially when it is a political action aimed at harming it and, therefore, attacking American democracy. In this context, attacking the President of the United States constitutes violence against the entire American nation, especially when a Chinese owner hides behind the teens' app. In this context, it is the national security of the United States that is directly involved. Therefore, it is appropriate to prevent this from undermining US institutions.

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What are the criticisms of the Chinese app TikTok?

First, TikTok was investigated by CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the US), the agency that ensures that foreign investment does not pose any particular risk to national security.

Suspicions that the parent company is acting under the control of Beijing's political authorities, which censor content that is not in line with its conservative American politicians, have also raised concerns that the hugely popular video platform will be

used by Beijing to undermine the democratic values ​​of the United States, in particular by transmitting and storing its users' personal data for political purposes.

This isn't the first time Washington has accused China of using apps to spy and undermine US national security. Kunlun Group, owner of Chinese LGBT meetups, has previously been asked to sell its shares over the same allegations.

TikTok Chinese Trick

Washington is convinced that the Chinese Communist Party has the means to use all apps of Chinese origin and use them for purposes that compromise domestic ones. In order to maintain its Chinese app, more than 10,000 people who were employed by ByteDance, recruited most frequently from among the members. of the Communist Party. They are tasked with scrutinizing messages to prevent any attack on the social and moral norms of socialism.

TikTok e as leis chinesas

Chinese cybersecurity law requires all citizens to cooperate with national intelligence under penalty of criminal prosecution. In this context, ByteDance and its founder are obviously concerned. Tiktok tries to free itself from Beijing's demands, in particular accepting in its foreign versions the disclosure of positions of individuals in favor of the Uighur minority.

Its owner, accused of trying to sell his app in the United States, is sometimes portrayed in China as a traitor to the motherland. United States security. Founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming, still headquartered in Beijing, ByteDance, owner of TikTok, is now the third Chinese internet company after Alibaba and Tencent.

Beijing's Censorship and TikTok's Success

TikTok's success came with the acquisition of Musical.ly for $1 billion in 2017. This is the second most popular app in the world after WhatsApp. The company has a similar app in China, under another name (Douyin or Doyin). Since its inception, its creator has offered an international version that is different from the Chinese version. Both apps are hermetically separated, especially since Douyin is tightly controlled by Beijing's censorship, just like Google, WhatsApp or Facebook.

He has frequently had to defend himself against his ties to the Chinese government and has denied sharing data with Chinese authorities. On the contrary, his relations with the Communist Party are often tempestuous, with the content of messages not corresponding to the criteria defined by Beijing.

Center for Strategic and International Studies, Disney and the geopolitics of TikTok

ByteDance has pledged not to accept requests from Beijing that would affect the confidentiality of data and messages and to present a high level of transparency all the way to controlling its algorithms, to reassure users and regulators. James Lewis, head of technology policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reckons that US revenue from TikTok usage is close to zero.

It's true that TikTok teams in the US are run by employees. Director Kenin Mayer is the former chairman of Disney. ByteDance planned to hire 10,000 people for all its activities and new employees in the year 2020. Today, the most successful Chinese startup abroad is between the American hammer and the Chinese anvil in the geopolitical and geoeconomic relations between the two world powers.


No matter who remains the real owner of TikTok, whether it's the Chinese government or some random Chinese business tycoon running multiple businesses while constantly being monitored by the radar of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, it's the impact that matters. application.

Today, TikTok has become a force to be reckoned with and is now arguably more powerful than law enforcement agencies in many countries.

TikTok has gone mad for many like wildfire without ceasing with many dangerous implications also on the existing society and generational gap as kids probably do some weird form of entertainment every day on the app due to one trend or another, one day it will come and go they will completely stop listening to their parents and elders and will just sing along to the news on TikTok.

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The world of TikTok looks shiny and glamorous, but it also has its dark side, seen in the way it mistreats and ends up dismissing people who become irrelevant and unpopular overnight to the public. expressed in a press interview or by some leaked video that led to a disastrous scandal for his career.


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