What is TikTok? How does it work? Is it possible that the US would stop it?

If the United States were to prohibit TikTok, what exactly is it, and how does it function?

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A lot of young people all over the world love the TikTok video app. However, the Chinese-owned business has been questioned for many years about how safe its users’ data is and how close it is to the Beijing government.

US lawmakers are discussing a bill that would require TikTok’s parent business to sell the app. However, former US president Donald Trump has spoken out against the bill, even though he earlier supported a ban.

What is TikTok, and how many people use it?
TikTok is an app for short videos that lets people post, share, and comment on videos, just like YouTube.

These can be anywhere from three seconds to three minutes long, and users can easily change them by adding music, stickers, filters, and other effects.

It first became popular as a place for teens and young adults to follow dance or lip-syncing trends and compete.

Some users can live stream videos to their fans, and depending on their age and where they live, they can also buy digital gifts or subscriptions for their favorite artists.

TikTok Shop is the platform’s official online shop where users can buy things like the ones that artists use in their videos.

Since the beginning of 2019, TikTok has often been the most downloaded app.

Sensor Tower, a company that tracks how social media companies do, says that it competed with Instagram to be the most downloaded app in the world in 2023.

In March 2023, 150 million people in the US used TikTok every month.

Do you know who owns TikTok?

ByteDance, a Chinese company that has been around since 2012, owns TikTok.

The business is based in Beijing and is registered in the Cayman Islands. It also has offices in the US and Europe.

In addition, it owns the video editing software CapCut and several apps that are only available in mainland China. One of these is Douyin, which is like TikTok but in Chinese.

The platform’s CEO is Singaporean businessman Shou Zi Chew, but some experts think that ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming makes many of the most important choices.

Just how does TikTok work?

The program that runs TikTok is what makes it work.

This is an app’s set of directions that decides what content to show users based on information about how they interacted with previous content.

On their app, users can choose from three main feeds: Following, Friends, and For You.

The Following and Friends feeds show users posts from people they have chosen to follow and who have also followed them back. The For You feed, on the other hand, is made by the app itself.

People who want to find new content and people who want to make TikTok videos that can get millions of views if they become popular tend to go to this tailored feed.

Why does TikTok cause trouble?

Politicians and government officials all over the world are worried about TikTok’s Chinese owners, even though the app’s safety has been emphasized many times.

TikTok, like many other social media apps, collects information from its users. However, it has come under more criticism for how much information it stores and who can see it.

Some people are worried that the data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. TikTok and ByteDance have strongly rejected that this could happen.

Late in 2022, a writer from the UK found out that her cat’s account had been used to track her.

And in 2023, many places, like the UK government and Parliament, the EU, and the US White House, told their employees they couldn’t use the app on their work phones.

TikTok has tried many times to separate itself from its Chinese owners. It has also tried to reassure lawmakers with projects like “Project Clover,” which started saving user data locally in Europe.

What is the TikTok bill, and could the US take down TikTok?

A plan to go after companies run “by a foreign adversary” was offered by politicians from both major parties in the US in March 2024.

If it works, ByteDance would have to sell TikTok within six months or be banned from app shops and web hosting services in the US.

If the bill gets to President Joe Biden’s desk, he will sign it into law.

It comes after the US government tried to block access to the app before, saying it could threaten national security.

Donald Trump, who was president of the US from 2017 to 2020, tried to ban the app but failed.

However, Mr. Trump, who wants to be the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has spoken out against the new bill, saying that putting limits on TikTok would unfairly help Facebook.

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