Advanced Search


TikTok is a short-form mobile videos app.


TikTok is a short-form mobile videos app, and the international version of Chinese video app Douyin. Both applications are owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Originally launched in 2016, TikTok gained widespread popularity in the US after it was merged with, a lip-synch video app, in 2018. As of 2021, TikTok has been downloaded in over 150 countries, has over 1 billion users, and has over 200 million downloads in the US alone.


TikTok was created after parent company ByteDance (established in 2012 by Zhang Yiming in Beijing) launched Douyin, a short-form mobile video app, in China in 2016. There, it quickly gained widespread popularity. Later that year, Bytedance launched the international version of Douyin, giving it the new name TikTok. TikTok continued to gain popularity after ByteDance acquired for $1 billion in 2017. The two companies were merged together a year later, in 2018.

A screenshot of the website.

By late 2018, TikTok's popularity continued to grow after it surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube in downloads. The app topped 1 billion installs on the App Store and Google Play in early 2019, and surpassed 2 billion downloads a year later in April 2020. In the US, the app is especially popular with teenagers and people in their early twenties (often referred to as Gen Z), who account for 47.4% of active users, according to Statista.


TikTok's rise in popularity has not been without controversy, with politicians in the US and abroad raising concerns about data security and censorship.

Data Security

Politicians from the US and abroad have raised concerns about the security of the data that users share with TikTok. While social media platforms routinely collect user data, TikTok collects over fifty different kinds of data from users thirteen and older, including age, username, gender, content of messages, email address, and tracking data of online activity. Critics raise concern about the data privacy of the app, particularly in regards to how much access the Chinese government has to user data in the US and elsewhere. ByteDance itself has said their US and China operations are handled separately, with TikTok offices and servers being based in the US and Singapore and Douyin servers and offices being based in China.


TikTok has also been accused of censorship, with critics saying the app hides or removes certain material that may be critical of the Chinese government and its practices. In 2019, the Guardian reported that TikTok moderators were instructed to ban videos that mentioned Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, or the banned religious group Falun Gong, and that the app was removing videos referencing the then-ongoing Hong Kong protests. ByteDance responded that the leaked documents the Guardian had access to were old and the policies had not been updated to single out any one specific organization, cause, or region.

Bans and Potential Bans

As a result of this controversy, TikTok has been banned, or has had bans against it proposed, in several major countries around the world. On June 29, 2020, India passed a nationwide ban on Chinese-owned apps, including TikTok. As of July 2021, the ban still remains in effect.

In August of 2020, then President Donald Trump signed an executive order proclaiming that the US would be banning TikTok and Chinese-owned app WeChat from US app stores, unless they found a US company to purchase the service. Originally given fifteen days to find a buyer, this time period was extended multiple times, with US companies Oracle and Walmart both expressing interest. Ultimately, neither the ban nor the sale to a US company came to fruition. Ultimately, President Joseph Biden revoked Trump's executive order in June of 2021.


August 10, 2021
TikTok overtakes Facebook as the most downloaded social media app in the world.
June 2021
US President Joe Biden revokes Trump's executive order banning TikTok.
August 2020
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order banning TikTok and WeChat from US app stores unless they can find a US buyer.
June 29, 2020
India passes a ban on TikTok and several other Chinese-owned apps.
April 2020
TikTok and Douyin top over 2 billion downloads.
February 2019
TikTok reaches 1 billion installs on the App Store and Google Play.
August 2018
TikTok merges with
November 2017
ByteDance buys, a short video lip-syncing app, for $800 million to $1 billion.
ByteDance launches Douyin, a short-form video app, in China, and launches the international version under the name TikTok later that year.
TikTok parent company ByteDance is incorporated in Beijing, China by Zhang Yiming.



Further reading


Documentaries, videos and podcasts





November 19, 2021
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan's media regulating authority on Friday again lifted a ban on TikTok, this time after four months, following assurances from the popular Chinese video-sharing service that it would control the spread of indecent content.
October 11, 2021
TikTokers have flooded feeds with DIY Halloween costume ideas that will save you money during this years holiday.
Caroline Bologna
October 8, 2021
The viral TikTok recipe presents an intriguing method for reheating food in the microwave.
Zoe Wood
October 8, 2021
the Guardian
Biscoff biscuits have soared in popularity during pandemic and supermarkets are taking notice
By Dougal Shaw
October 8, 2021
BBC News
Luis von Ahn boss of language-learning app Duolingo, talks about taking on TikTok with a maths app.
Natasha Lomas
October 6, 2021
Video-sharing platforms that offer a service in the U.K. have to comply with new regulations intended to protect users and under-18s from harmful content such as hate speech and videos/ads likely to incite violence again protected groups. Ofcom, the country's comms, broadcast and -- in an expanding role -- internet content regulator, has published the [...]
BBC News
October 5, 2021
BBC News
Video-sharing platforms have a legal duty to enforce strict rules - or be fined or even suspended.
Shephali Bhatt
October 5, 2021
Senegalese social media content creator reportedly paid more than ₹2 crore for the project.Lame began posting videos on TikTok in March 2020 after losing his job in a factory during covid
Anna Schaverien
October 1, 2021
Clips of swimming pools being cleaned have racked up millions of views on TikTok. Researchers have some ideas as to why.
Samantha Leathers
September 29, 2021
A HIRING expert and CEO has revealed what can ruin the chance of a job candidate getting hired - as well as sharing five job market hacks to find the perfect position and actually get it.
BBC News
September 28, 2021
BBC News
Satya Nadella reveals details about the Microsoft TikTok deal that never was.
September 28, 2021
Social media giant Facebook in comparison in the second quarter had 3.51 billion monthly users across its family of apps, up from 3.45 billion in the first quarter
September 28, 2021
Microsoft Corp's near-acquisition of social media app TikTok last year was the "strangest thing I've ever worked on," Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said on Monday.
Zee News
September 28, 2021
Zee News
Microsoft Corp's near-acquisition of social media app TikTok last year was the strangest thing I`ve ever worked on, its Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has said.
September 27, 2021
TikTok was founded in 2016 and became an international brand in 2018. Its growth has been explosive since then.
Edward Helmore
September 26, 2021
the Guardian
A former model has launched a website to help online creatives compare deals with brands to prevent exploitation
Li Jin
September 24, 2021
Harvard Business Review
Platforms have rewritten the contract between workers and companies. Here's how gig workers and creators are starting to push back.
Brian Contreras
September 23, 2021
Los Angeles Times
The written word is making a comeback in an unlikely place: TikTok. The reasons for that include accessibility concerns and changes in the way Americans consume media.
September 21, 2021
Police are arresting and charging students in connection with stolen and vandalized school property incited by the "devious licks" TikTok challenge.
September 21, 2021
MIAMI (AP) -- The disappearance and almost-certain death of Gabby Petito and the police hunt for her boyfriend have generated a whirlwind online, with a multitude of armchair detectives and others sharing tips, possible sightings and theories by way of TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.


Page 1 of 2
Golden logo
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0; additional terms apply. By using this site, you agree to our Terms & Conditions.