What is TikTok and how does it work? Everything you need to know

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(Pocket-lint) - You astir apt already made up your caput astir TikTok.

You've seen the ads with immoderate 17-year-old teen with neon contacts, bleached hair, and fake humor dripping down their cervix lip-syncing to a tune. Why connected Earth would you privation to download it conscionable to ticker radical formal up, rima words, and gyrate to soundbites? We get it. But determination are reportedly implicit 1 cardinal radical scrolling done TikTok monthly, spending astir an hr connected it a day.

Yeah, it's astir clip you checked retired the app.


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What is TikTok?

TikTok is simply a societal app utilized to make and stock videos.

Many videos thin to beryllium music-focused, with creators leveraging the app's immense catalogue of dependable effects, euphony snippets, and filters to grounds abbreviated clips of them dancing and lip-syncing. But there's an untold fig of videos to discover, with varying topics. There are DIY and trade videos, comedic sketches, you sanction it. If TikTok sounds familiar, it's due to the fact that determination are akin apps that came earlier it, similar Vine and Dubsmash.

TikTok besides had a predecessor, called Musical.ly, that Chinese entrepreneurs Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang launched successful 2014. ByteDance acquired Musical.ly successful 2017, and past a twelvemonth later, it folded the service's halfway functionality and userbase into its ain TikTok app. Existing Musical.ly users were migrated over. By 2018, TikTok had surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat successful monthly installs successful the US app stores.

TikTok has implicit one cardinal planetary monthly progressive users - 63 per cent of which are betwixt the ages of 10 and 29. Women connected TikTok besides outnumber men 2 to 1 successful the US. As a effect of TikTok's popularity, ByteDance is present considered 1 of the world’s astir invaluable startup.


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    How does TikTok work?

    Getting started with TikTok

    The basal relation of TikTok is that users tin movie videos of themselves lip-syncing, dancing, oregon acting retired sketches. Videos - oregon TikToks - tin beryllium up to 15 seconds long, but they tin besides link aggregate clips for up to 60 seconds of full recording. Recently, TikTok expanded the clip bounds to 3 minutes for astir users. Users tin besides upload longer videos that were recorded extracurricular the app.

    TikTok besides has video editing and customisation tools. Users person entree to a room of songs, effects, filters, and dependable bites to adhd to their videos. They tin besides “duet” with idiosyncratic by replying to a video, creating a split-screen and endless reactions.

    They tin adjacent adhd their ain sounds and lip-sync to different user's video.

    Navigating TikTok

    Let's spell implicit however to navigate the app.

    When you unfastened TikTok, you'll spot a paper barroom connected the bottom. It has shortcuts to each of the pursuing 5 pages successful the app:

    • Home: Shows 2 feeds - Following and For you - which you tin toggle between.
    • Discover: Mostly shows you TikTok videos tagged with a trending hashtag.
    • Create video: Opens up to the grounds screen, wherever you tin movie a video.
    • Inbox: Shows you each the enactment connected your videos. (Tap the Envelope to entree DMs).
    • Profile: Your illustration that you and different users tin see. You tin marque parts of it private.

    Watching TikTok videos

    In a nutshell, similar videos from Vine oregon Instagram, TikTok videos look vertically connected your screen. You tin prosecute with them utilizing “hearts", which are the aforesaid arsenic “likes.” After you download the TikTok app and unfastened it, you'll instantly spot curated featured videos connected the “for you" page. You tin power to the “following” leafage to spot videos from users you travel - whether friends oregon fashionable TikTokkers.

    On either page, to spot much caller videos, swipe up connected the surface oregon pat Home. You tin besides effort tapping Discover (the magnifying solid icon adjacent to the location button) to hunt for videos by keywords and hashtags. Within videos, you tin pat connected the surface to pause. Also, look to the close for the user's icon to sojourn their profile. Also, connected the right, you'll spot the fig of “hearts” and comments the video has, positive options to stock it.

    On the bottommost of the video, you'll find the user’s name, caption, hashtags, and the sanction of the opus that’s playing. Top these to spot related videos.

    Note: It’s imaginable to ticker TikTok videos without creating an account. But you request an relationship to prosecute with different users and to station videos.

    Creating TikTok videos

    When you’re acceptable to commencement creating station your ain video, click connected the Create video fastener (plus sign) astatine the bottommost of the location surface and property the grounds button. While that sounds easy, it takes a tonne of work. If you hunt YouTube for tutorials, you'll spot however intensive the TikTok video-making process tin beryllium for astir users. That's because, earlier you adjacent deed record, you tin find sounds, effects, and filters to apply.

    You tin adjacent prevention a video arsenic a draught to station it later. Just pat the Create Video icon to sprout a video, and aft you decorativeness signaling and editing your video, pat Next. From the video posting page, pat Drafts. If you're looking for much step-by-step tutorials connected however to sprout and edit videos with TikTok, we urge browsing TikTok Support Pocket-lint besides has this useful TikTok tips and tricks guide.

    Who to travel connected TikTok

    This Wikipedia page keeps way of the apical 50 TikTok accounts with the largest fig of followers.

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    Currently, Charli D'Amelia is astatine the apical with 122 cardinal followers. She's 17 and chiefly posts videos of herself dancing. Many of the astir fashionable users connected TikTok are teenagers, and they've go friends successful the past twelvemonth and formed collaboration groups, oregon collectives, specified arsenic Hype House, Sway House, and Club House. They unrecorded unneurotic successful mega-mansions successful LA purely for the intent of creating an endless watercourse of TikTok content.

    If you don't privation to get progressive with contented houses and similar to ticker much integrated contented that suits your interests, research the Discover page.

    Is TikTok a surveillance instrumentality for China?

    TikTok is the latest to beryllium nether the glare of the US, with erstwhile President Donald Trump attempting to prohibition the app earlier leaving office. The app was "being looked at" by the erstwhile medication implicit fears it could beryllium a surveillance instrumentality for China, among different things. 

    Courts person repeatedly sided against Trump's TikTok ban, ruling that the effort appeared to beryllium politically motivated. In fact, efforts to prohibition TikTok were enactment connected crystal successful February 2021, with the US Justice Department filing a question that signaled the Biden medication whitethorn driblet the cases entirely.

    But Biden has said that helium has immoderate concerns with TikTok. His medication is adjacent scrutinizing Chinese tech companies and commercialized practices.

    All that said, the US has yet to proviso grounds that TikTok is simply a surveillance instrumentality for China. And the US authorities presently allows the app to beryllium utilized wide successful the state by millions of Americans. So marque of that what you will.

    Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published connected 1 February 2019.

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