In 2016, the Chinese technology company ByteDance launched the TikTok app. This has become very famous among the known social networks to date. This popularity is due to specific features that are particularly popular among internet users.
In the beginning, TikTok was developed in China under the name Douyin. Its development around the world is the result of its merger with another application under the name of Musically. This is how it became one of the biggest social networks in the world. Note that in 2017, it had 200 million users, that is, only one year after its launch. Today, the tool is available in several countries where it occupies 150 markets. At the beginning of 2021, TikTok has about 1.1 billion active users. Even in the face of formidable competitors like Facebook, it is not an ordinary social media. It interests Internet users because of its originality.
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What does TikTok allow?
First of all, TikTok allows users to Create, share and watch short videosfrom 15 to 60 seconds. Its addictive quality is particularly prized, which is what makes its difference in the world of social media. Indeed, users can show their creation, while accompanying it with effects, music filters as background or stickers. Compared to other networks, this one stands out for its ability to allow 2 people who are not in the same place to create videos. Thus, a shared screen allows to make videos in duo.
The commitment capacity TikTok’s ability to engage is also a point to note. In fact, there is no need to register to use it. But its installation nevertheless allows the tracking of the person who installed it. It is from this moment that TikTok makes a recommendation of videos to its new user. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the application’s suggestions vary according to the videos the user usually watches.
As such, when TikTok suggests a video to a new user and the user does not watch it until the end. In this case, he will have less recommendations for similar videos. However, if the proposed video has been viewed in its entirety, the user will receive others of the same type.
In short, TikTok allows users to enhance their talents. With the application, they can all become creators. This is not always the case with other social networks. In short, TikTok is special and its recommendation system using AI is far from harmless.
How does the TikTok app work?
Artificial intelligence allows TikTok to work in a cyclical way. All videos go through a series of verification steps. First, the video uploaded to the application is analyzed by an AI algorithm with high performance. It should be noted that this algorithm uses neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). The objective of this video analysis is to verify the content according to TikTok’s rules.
After that, the content will be evaluated by a small group. The latter will give feedback on the content. These practices allow the platform to engage users for as long as possible. Indeed, each followed video has a score. If it is decent, the application shares it with a wider audience. This way, TikTok engages more audiences, without taking the risk of sharing videos on a large scale that nobody is interested in.
Note that millions of content are uploaded every day by users. In general, it is a machine that takes care of the verifications. As for the contents that could interfere with the company’s protocols, these pass before a human verification. If the score is high, the content will be published. However, it does not remain available to everyone for long. If the score is low, the application follows its use by the user and it releases other content. The cycle starts again, engaging more and more users.
The pros and cons of TikTok
TikTok is an application that allows users to create, watch and share videos of different genres. They enjoy entertainment and comedy content. Among the videos that can be found on this application, we can also mention beauty, fashion or cooking tips. All of this is personalised with AI to enhance the user experience.
Despite the advantages that TikTok offers to its users, there are many controversies. Let’s not forget that TikTok collects personal information. Aliza Vigderman, a journalist at Security, has stated that the personal data of followers is not secure. Indeed, the application has access to all the details about them. In addition, the user must allow TikTok to access the microphone, camera and any other tools needed to create content on the application.
TikTok controversial in India and the US
Thus, some fear that this social networking giant is challenging national security. This is the case in the United States and India, for example.
In mid-2020, India thus banned the app in order to keep, according to the government, the sovereignty of the nation. This happened after confrontations with China. As for the United States, as of July 2020, a public attack on this app was launched by the President Donald Trump. The motive for the attack is based on TikTok’s ability to collect the private data of its users considered by the president as a way for China to monitor and spy on the American population.
But the problem was resolved following the creation of TikTok Global September 2020. It is an American company derived from TikTok. Although the goal of this one is to avoid TikTok being banned from the US market, everything still seems unclear with the Biden administration.
Despite these challenges, TikTok considers itself a lower risk app. Thus, it would not present any significant danger to average users. Moreover, it would be no different from other social networks such as Facebook. Others, such as Aidan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Reincubate, point to the fact that there is no evidence to date that TikTok is dangerous.
The only act that amounts to an offence is the collection of biometric data from minors without parental consent. As a result of this situation, complaints about the privacy of the data have arisen in the United States. Byte Dance had to pay a a fine of 92 million dollars to fix the problem.
What steps can I take to protect myself while using TikTok?
TikTok has taken steps to decrease the presence of users’ digital footprints. In the first instance, no identity markers should be left or shown on the application. Putting in private” mode the account will also allow the user to secure their personal information.
To avoid sharing content with other users by default, you should disable the “suggest your account to others” feature. For information, this is in the settings. TikTok allows, indeed, a free configuration of the parameters. For example, you can deactivate the privacy options “allow the downloading of your videos” or “who can send you messages”. These options will allow all users to guarantee the security of their private information.
Source: investopedia – Credit: