The app downloaded by over a billion users allows teenagers to make very short videos. The company that markets it is the Pekingese Bytedance, valued at 75 billion dollars. But the accusations are not lacking: from the spread of child pornography to the mopping up of personal data
by Biagio Simonetta
3 'of reading
The last official numbers date back to the last June, and talk about a billion of users all over the world. The most affectionate target is that of adolescents, who in a few months have turned it into a real killer app. TikTok is the phenomenon of the moment. And it doesn't look like something passing. It was the most downloaded app in the Apple App Store for many consecutive months, according to market research firm Sensor Tower. And overall, it is the third most downloaded application in the world in the first three months of 2019. More than Facebook, more than Instagram, more than Snapchat. An authentic crack, within the thriving world of the app economy.
What is TikTok
But what is TikTok? And what's the use? It is a platform that generates short videos, from maximum 15 seconds, where users improvise famous movie parodies or sing songs, simply using playback. With lip-synching, the effect is funny, and – judging from the results – it has a huge grip on users. Because in the end TikTok also likes those who are more skeptical: it is funny, he smiles smiles. The critical point at the moment seems to be long-term. Several analysts say you get tired right away. For now the numbers don't say it.
Who's behind it
Behind this new digital eldorado is Beijing ByteDance Technology Co Ltd, better known as Bytedance. A Chinese giant that in the first six months of this year would have registered, according to unofficial data, a frightening turnover: among the seven and eight billion of dollars. The company, based in Beijing, has recently been evaluated 75 billion of dollars. And if TikTok continues its climb to the social world, the numbers are destined to grow. The gain is entirely concentrated on advertising revenue. Me in the fort of the application grows visibly another element of inestimable value: i data of hundreds of millions of people.
How does it work
So the game is the dubbing one. The platform makes available thousands of audio of songs or films of any kind, searchable through hashtags. And a few simple editing tools. There really is plenty of choice. The user (who in theory must have at least 13 years) in a few seconds can try to interpret anyone: from Bono Vox or Checco Zalone. The small video products are published on the main feed, and are available to both followers and strangers. In fact, by default, all accounts are public, although users can change the initial setting. The app also allows you to send private messages, but this function is limited to "friends". Also on TikTok the follower mania clearly broke out.
Doubts and disputes
The story of TikTok, although still brief, is already full of doubts and controversies. In April, the government Indian has decided to ban the app from the stores of Apple and Google for a few weeks, on charges of having contributed to spreading pornographic material and child pornography. A couple of months ago it had been the United States to inflict one fine from $ 5.7 million to the parent company, for illegally collecting data on children. Instead, a few days ago it emerged that the US government has opened an investigation into the acquisition by ByteDance of Musical.ly, an app developed in China, which later became TikTok. And last November 5, a hearing was called before the US Senate, to which no member of the ByteDance has decided to answer this.