TikTok Explained to a Millennial

The chances that you have heard of apps such as TikTok and Byte are high, but the likeliness of you having one of those apps on your phone are pretty slim unless you were born after 1997. Over the last couple of years, TikTok has been causing a real stir among teenagers making the app the second most downloaded app in the world for 2019. With more than a billion and a half downloads and revenue of $40 million per month, TikTok is aiming to be soon one of the most popular apps in the world.

Byte, the sequel to Vine and a potential competitor to TikTok, launched on mobile only a few weeks ago and has already been downloaded more than a million times, again mostly by Generation Z users. Short-videos are about to be a thing in the always evolving world of social media.

What exactly do video-sharing social networking apps such as TikTok and Byte do?

Byte has just launched and is meant to be the US version of the Chinese TikTok app that allows users to create short videos and upload them to social media. Those videos can range from anything that a user can capture with a camera. Still, the content mostly includes music and lip-sync videos that can vary between 3 and 15 seconds, and short looping videos that can be up to a minute.

Millennials and marketers are slowly but steadily jumping on the short-video social media wagon – Kim Kardashian recently uploaded her first video of her daughter North West. The video consists of three mirrored version of Kim and North duo swaying together. And Business Insider calls TikTok “the next frontier in social media not just for influencers, but for marketers and advertisers,” as more and more brands are entering the platform.

Are there any dangers on TikTok?

    • Prone to addiction
      The app is said to be so addictive that the company behind it had to team up with some of its popular influencers to create videos that remind people to get off their phones. TikTok realized its potential and recently introduced parental controls allowing parents to have more control over how much time their children can spend on the platform.
    • Video challenges
      Teenagers no longer have to go to YouTube in search of challenges. TikTok’s Skullbreaker has been injuring kids across the country for quite some time now. The challenge consists of three people who stand in a line next to each other, and the person in the middle jumps as high as possible, and the other two kick their feet out behind the jumper’s legs. The actions result in the middle man falling on their back.

“skull breaker” challenge is the new headache in schools. Several children have been fractured. The trend is viral #skullbreakerchallenge pic.twitter.com/8CLU8etz9H

— anu sehgal (@anusehgal) February 15, 2020

  • Privacy concerns
    The app is not allowed on government phones. Both the US Navy and US Army have banned personnel from using the social media app as it is considered a cyber threat. ByteDance is a Chinese company, and the data collected by them that includes biometric scans of faces may end up being used by the communist party ruling in China. TechCrunch recently pointed out that ByteDance has secretly built a deepfakes maker that could one day be used in TikTok. Military personnel can still access the app as long as it is installed on a personal smartphone but are strongly advised to defer from it.

The popularity of TikTok is pretty impressive for an app that most of the people born after 1997 have never experienced. Considered as Facebook’s biggest nightmare, the short video app might be what Facebook was for the millennials ten years ago. While teenagers are the primary users of the platform, the fact that the app is so popular means that its platform is also a place of choice for predators posing as children and cybercriminals. Having anti-virus protection on all your connected devices could certainly decrease the chances of your children, or you, becoming a victim while enjoying the trendy social media platform.

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