The invention of TikTok has changed the lives of people across the globe. Simple, quick videos go viral, and suddenly you’re a huge sensation. This growth has been a long time coming for the company. Last year, Google took the top spot with all their sub-genres like Maps, Shopping, Images, etc. and TikTok was in the number seven spot.
All that changed this year. With people spending more time staring at their phones for everything in life, it was only natural to see a huge growth period for TikTok. As Search Engine Journal reported “Google.com — which also includes Maps, Translate, and News among others — ended the previous year as the leader in Cloudflare’s rankings. At that time, TikTok was ranking in the 7th position…The number of global TikTok users number grew 59.8% in 2020 and went up by an additional 40.8% in 2021. Further, Insider Intelligence estimates TikTok will see a 15.1% growth in global users in 2022. Should that estimate hold true, TikTok will hold a 20% share of overall social media users by the end of next year.”
This is unprecedented growth for a social media empire, and the Chinese are loving it. While TikTok claimed the top spot, Google took the silver, and Facebook dropped to third; Microsoft and Apple rounded out the top five. This puts the Chinese in a unique position as they have a massive impression in all five companies.
Breitbart’s Lucas Nolan has covered the rise of TikTok extensively. While the company tries to keep some degrees of separation from their parent company ByteDance (located in Beijing) to appease the US Government, it is still, ultimately, ByteDance calling all the shots, and for many, that poses a big concern over security and the safety of our data as a nation and across the globe.
Nolan explained “According to six current and former TikTok employees, the firm was still largely under the influence of ByteDance’s Beijing headquarters. Four current and former staffers told Business Insider that discussions relating to TikTok’s products often require calls with employees at ByteDance’s China HQ, and final product decisions are regularly made in Beijing…An anonymous former staffer stated: It’s that feeling a little bit in the US where you’re sort of helpless to a lot of the decisions that are made out of China.’…TikTok’s employees refer to the ByteDance Beijing office and its staff as ‘HQ’ according to five of the current and former staffers. ‘Even our internal ticketing system will reroute questions to HQ, eliciting the response, ‘Oh no, it went to HQ,’ said one current staffer.”
This is a major problem within the company. If people think there is an imbalance of power and that government-based politics are changing policy, they will stop trusting the top levels. Given the data collection efforts and methodologies of the Chinese in the past and the current bylaws of the app as a whole, it’s no surprise that the American government has called it a national security threat. Even going so far as to ban it (for a time) for members of the military.
TikTok has proven itself to be more than an annoying trend. From the gentleman longboarding while sipping some Ocean Spray to the sounds of Fleetwood Mac to the lady sharing the 37th video of her cats today, this is a platform that gives everyone a voice. Allows everyone to get their message out. While this is a good thing, in the past the Chinese have censored and shadow-banned anything that it perceives as a threat to Beijing and people it considers unattractive. This is something the country has done for years, and it is something not likely to change any time soon.