A screenshot from TikTok’s U.S. ad campaign. (TikTok)
Brentwood School

Opinion: The buzz surrounding TikTok

If you are looking for something to take your mind off of this unsettling time in quarantine, TikTok is a popular way that you can distract yourself. Teens across the globe are obsessed with this app.

TikTok is a free social media platform in which teens can express themselves in a new way. Users make short videos in which they dance, lip-sync or create comedy skits to the latest hit songs. They can also edit the videos to add filters and text. Learning the intricate dances and skits is a great way to pass the time and connect with friends during this quarantine.

Even though TikTok is one of the most popular apps and a national sensation, the security of its users is a concern to the United States government. Politicians and the government believe the Chinese owned company could pose a threat to the United States. They fear that the app could be a vehicle to spy on citizens or used to influence foreign campaigns, according to CNN.

President Donald Trump has even threatened to ban the app in America, which has caused an uproar in the social media community. According to the L.A. Times, Sept. 15 is the deadline for a United States buyer to purchase TikTok or he said the app will be shut down in the United States. He also said the United States should receive a “cut” of the sale, according to CNN Business.

While the news that TikTok may be shut down is disappointing, many of the most popular celebrities who use TikTok also have a following on many other social media platforms.

The most popular person on TikTok is 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio, who is rapidly growing on the app. She has more than 81 million followers and is currently the most followed person on TikTok.

D’Amelio originally became famous for her dance videos, but now makes many different types of videos. She has hopped on trends and even created many new dances of her own. 

TikTok has started many trends including new dance moves, new sayings and the latest clothing and jewelry, which have spread to other social media platforms. On these platforms, users joke around and have fun with these trends. 

If learning intricate TikTok dances is not enough exercise, many work out videos have become popular and have motivated teens to get up and exercise. For example, Chloe Ting has a two-week ab workout video, in which people have been sharing their progress and transformations.

People also share quick, easy and unique recipes for decadent desserts, food and drinks. For example, many people have been making Cloud Bread, which is similar to a fluffy cake, and whipped coffee has become a recipe that almost everyone on the app has tried.

People also make acting, comedy and art videos that showcase the many different talents all across the app.

The app has brought people together and new friendships have formed — 20 TikTok users even live together in a house called the Hype House. This house is home to some of the most popular people on the app and everyone collaborates to make TikToks and to post on many other social media platforms, including Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and more. 

Another unique feature that TikTok offers is that people can record and post themselves watching and reacting to someone else’s video on side by side screens, which is called a duet. A new trend is long duet chains featuring many popular creators.

The app has a following page that allows viewers to easily see all of the videos that their friends have made in one place. The ForYou page is another page where the more popular, public videos are showcased. These videos typically are going viral and the ForYou page is a place where they can be shared and continued to spread.

According to CNBC, TikTok is reportedly worth $75 billion, making it the world’s most valuable startup. There are about 500 million users a month, worldwide, on the app, according to Business of Apps.

In the beginning, the app was called Musical.ly, according to Vox, — a popular lip-syncing app, allowing users to create dance moves and hand gestures to go along with the songs.

It was then acquired in 2017 by a company called ByteDance, who merged it with their own similar app, according to The Verge. The combination of these apps created one of the world’s most popular apps called TikTok. 

TikTok originally attracted mostly younger children, but due to the popularity of memes that have come out of the app, more teens are attracted and even addicted to it.

Despite the controversy and security threats surrounding the app, TikTok lives up to its mission, which is to “inspire creativity and bring joy.”