What the hell is TikTok?

5 November 2018, 16:36 | Updated: 15 November 2018, 14:56

what is tik tok
Picture: Tik Tok
Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

Everything you need to know about what makes this app tik

TikTok is a new app that is slowly but surely taking over the internet - but what exactly is it? That's what we're here to find out, friend. So settle in, put on your best lip-syncing face and let's dive in:

Cringe TikTok memes are the best thing since Vine

What does the app do?

TikTok is a lip-syncing app, much like musical.ly. The main difference between the two seems to be that musical.ly was all about mouthing along to songs whereas on TikTok you can also mouth along to... weird little skits? And also do a thing where you kiss the side of the screen? I wish I was making this stuff up.

The app allows you to post your videos next to other people's, creating collaborative videos. Sometimes you even get whole long daisy-chains of videos.

You can download the app here for iOS and here for Android.

It's way, way more popular than you thought

TikTok is not just big, it's gigantic.

According to Wikipedia, citing several sources:

"In June 2018, TikTok reached 500 million monthly active users worldwide and 150 million daily active users in China. It became the world's most downloaded iPhone app in the first quarter of 2018 with an estimated 45.8 million downloads, surpassing the downloads recorded by Facebook, YouTube and Instagram in the same period."

This is partly due to it's dominance in Asian countries but also because it swallowed up fellow lipsyncing giant musical.ly. Yep, you head that right...

Tik Tok owns musical.ly

In November 2017, ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, spent up to $1 billion to buy musical.ly, thereby creating the ultimate Frankenstein of lip-syncing app power.

I, for one, cannot wait for the day when the entire world's food supply is controlled by one, giant, all powerful lip-syncing app parent company.

It's also prime (cringe) meme fodder

The inherent cringe potential of lip-syncing videos means that TikTok, like musical.ly before it has been ripe for being meme'd. There is already a huge compilation community on YouTube that is pretty much the most fun we've had with short video since Vine. You can read more about these memes here.

Is TikTok shutting down?

In short: no.

A fake tweet made the rounds on social media which stated:

"‘TikTok will be shutting down on October 26, 2018. Due to the negativity going on our network. It was fun while it lasted. A big thank you from everyone at TikTok!"

But this was quickly debunked by the official TikTok account, which tweeted "#FakeNews and then emphasised "Hi. No, we're not shutting down."

Cody Ko appeared in a TikTok ad... without his permission

YouTuber Cody Ko is currently locked in a curious feud with TikTok. It all started after a video he made about TikTok was filled (by YouTube) with three separate, unskippable ads for TikTok. Cody then couldn't get those ads out, the video got copyright claimed, and now he's not making any money from the video at all.

There was then another twist when it appeared that TikTok had used Cody's face in a series of social media ads.

Fun fact, the most followed users on TikTok are Lisa and Lena (35 million+ followers), who happen to be friends of ours:

Are you on TikTok? Does it frighten or confuse you? Write down your answer to these questions and then read it out loud in a Tik Tok for us, thanks.