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Original author(s) Alex Zhu, Luyu Yang
Developer(s), Inc
Initial release August 2014; 4 years ago (2014-08)
Operating system iOS, Android
Available in 29 languages[1]
List of languages
English, Bengali, Czech, Dutch, Tagalog, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malayalam,Kannada, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
Type Video sharing
License Freeware
Website is a Chinese video social network app for video creation and live broadcasting. The first prototype was released in April 2014, and the official version was launched in August of that year. Through the app, users could create 15-second to 1 minute videos and choose sound tracks to accompany them, use different speed options (time-lapse, fast, normal, slow motion, and epic) and add pre-set filters and effects. The app also allowed users to browse popular "musers," content, trending songs and sounds and hashtags. In August 2018, was absorbed into the app TikTok.

From July 2016 to August 2018, had over 90 million registered users and had an average of 580 million new videos posted a day[2] and by the end of May 2017 the app reached over 200 million users.[3] was headquartered in Shanghai and had offices in San Francisco, California.[4]

On November 9, 2017, Bytedance Technology Co. acquired, Inc for US $1 billion. Bytedance also owns the company Tik Tok and, on August 2, 2018, merged Tik Tok with the app and retained the name Tik Tok.[5]


Founding[edit] Inc. was founded by longtime friends Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang.[4] Before launching, Zhu and Yang teamed up to build an education social network app, through which users could both teach and learn different subjects through short-form videos (3–5 minutes long). After having investors fund this venture, it took them about 6 months to build the product. However, once launched, this online self-learning platform did not get enough traction and the content produced was not engaging enough. With some money left from the original investment for this failed venture, Zhu and Yang started to look for new ideas.[6] They decided to shift their focus to the entertainment industry, targeting the US teenage market, as this market is characterized for being an early adopter of new trends. The main idea was to create a platform that incorporates music and video in a social network. The first version of was officially launched in August 2014.[7]


In 2015, the app began to attract millions of users and in July 2015, climbed up to the number 1 position in the iOS App Store,[8] becoming the most-downloaded free app in over 30 countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Brazil, Philippines, and Japan. In May 2016, reached 70 million downloads, with over 10 million new videos posted every day.[6]

In June 2016, Coca-Cola launched its #ShareACoke campaign on, which introduced’s “User-Generated Ads” model.[9] On July 24, 2016, during VidCon, officially launched, its new live video streaming platform.[10]

On November 9, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Inc had agreed to be acquired by Bytedance Technology Co. for as much as US $1 billion.[11] Bytedance operates the program Toutiao. Recode estimated that the sale would be for around US$800 million and later merged with Tik Tok to create the American version of Tik Tok turning accounts into Tik Tok accounts.[12]

Features[edit] users can record 15-second to 1-minute videos in one or multiple shots; once the recording has been made, it can be paired with songs and sounds. The platform also enables editing, through 14 pre-set filters and effects that allow to change the speed or reverse the motion of the recording. Additionally, also has a feature to create shorter videos, named "live moments," which are essentially GIFs with music.[13]

Users on this platform can "remuse" (reuse) sounds created by other users, which instills a new level of engagement with the content. Other ways in which users can interact with each other is through features such as "Ask a Question" and "Duet“. On this regard, has an option called “Best Fan Forever,” through which users can select certain followers who can participate in duets with them.[13]

Users can also send private messages to their friends using the feature.[13] "Trends"[edit]'s structure allows the viral dissemination of trends throughout the platform. The hashtags that are popular on this social network usually make reference to bits of pop culture and trends among the internet world. Because of its massive usage, a lot of events launched within the app can become viral global events, especially among teenagers. One of the most notable campaigns launched by was the “Don’t Judge Challenge,” which became huge within the platform, as millions of teenagers around the world participated.[14]

Notable users[edit]

Active users with higher rates of popularity are given crowns by Some users of the platform have gained great traction and huge following not only within, but also outside it as well. Baby Ariel, also known as Ariel Martin, who as of May 2017 has 19 million followers on alone,[15] is one of users that have gained major media attention through In April 2016, she was interviewed live on Good Morning America.[16] Mackenzie Ziegler and Maddie Ziegler became more famous because of it when they finished Dance Moms.[17] Jacob Sartorius, who in recent months has become a social media influencer, promoted his first single "Sweatshirt" on, after which the song reached number 10[18] on the iTunes Store charts.In June 2016, it had been reported that Sartorius had signed with United Talent Agency.[19] Loren Gray Beech and Ariana Renee are also social media influencers who got started on[20] Israeli schoolgirl Anna Zak has become a celebrity in Israel after building millions of followers on and securing a sponsorship deal with Adidas.[21]

Most followed accounts on[edit]

This list contains the top 5 accounts with the most followers on the platform (as of April 10, 2018)

Rank Username Owner Followers


2 @tiktok Tik Tok 31.2[22] China
1 @lisaandlena Lisa and Lena 31.2 Germany
4 @babyariel Baby Ariel 28.9[23] USA
3 @lorengray Loren Gray 29.0[24]
5 @kristenhancher Kristen Hancher 21.3[25] Canada


On January 28, 2016, Business Insider released a survey, in which "30 of the 60 [interviewed teenagers] listed as the app they were most excited about."[26]

On June 2016, Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang were featured on Billboard's 2016 Digital Power Players List: The Industry Leaders Shaping the Game.[27]


  1. ^ " - your video community". iTunes. August 22, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  2. ^ Rys, Dan. Fresh Off a Big Funding Round, Signs Its First Major Label Deal with Warner Music. Billboard. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  3. ^ ", Apple Music Ink New Partnership, With More to Come". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  4. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (September 30, 2016). "'s Is Now Bigger Than Twitter's Periscope on iOS (Study)". Variety. Retrieved October 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ "[Updated] Mobile studio app, Tik Tok to merge into a new app". e27. Retrieved 2018-03-21. 
  6. ^ a b Carson, Biz. How a failed education startup turned into, the most popular app you've probably never heard of. Business Insider. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  7. ^ US</a>, <a target='_blank' href=''>Biz Carson</a>, <a target='_blank' href=''>Business Insider (2016-05-28). "How a failed education startup turned into, the most popular app you've probably never heard of". Business Insider Singapore. Retrieved 2018-09-05. 
  8. ^ Newlands, Murray. The Origin and Future Of America's Hottest New App: Forbes. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Share a Coke: Turning Lyrics into Language - The Shorty Awards". Retrieved 2018-09-05. 
  10. ^ Wallenstein, Andrew. May Be the Spoiler in Livestream Race with Launch of Variety. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  11. ^ Lin, Liza; Winkler, Rolfe (November 9, 2017). "Social-Media App Is Acquired for as Much as $1 Billion". The Wall Street Journal. New York City, New York, United States. Retrieved November 12, 2017. 
  12. ^ ", the lip-syncing video app, is going to sell for at least $800 million". Recode. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  13. ^ a b c "What is Tik Tok (formally". 2017-11-25. Retrieved 2018-09-05. 
  14. ^ Hamill, Jasper Don't Judge Challenge: Teens declare war on body shaming by making themselves up to 'look ugly'. Mirror. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  15. ^ Usborne, Simon (December 10, 2016). "'It's crazy, for sure': meet the stars of". The Guardian. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  16. ^ 'Baby Ariel' Talks, the Explosively Popular App for Teens. ABC News. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  17. ^ Nava, Kathleen (September 16, 2016). "'Dance Moms' 2016 News & Update: What Do Chloe Lukasiak And Mackenzie Ziegler Have In Common After Leaving Show?". GameNGuide. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  18. ^ Jacob Sartorius 'Sweatshirt' American iTunes Chart Performance. iTunes Charts. Retrieved 01 July 2016.
  19. ^ Jarvey, Natalie. UTA Sains Star Jacob Sartorius (Exclusive). Hollywood Reporter. 30 June 2016.
  20. ^ Reeve, Elspeth (July 20, 2016). "90 MILLION TWEENS, A FREE APP, ONE GOAL: FAME". Elle. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  21. ^ loudly Liat Katz, Maariv, 12/03/17
  22. ^ " - Global Video Communities". Retrieved 2018-03-27. 
  23. ^ " - Global Video Communities". Retrieved 2018-03-27. 
  24. ^ "Loren Beech". Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  25. ^ "Kristen Hancher". Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  26. ^ Kosoff, Maya. 60 teenagers reveal what they think is cool — and what isn't — in 2016. Business Insider. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  27. ^ Billboard's 2016 Digital Power Players List: The Industry Leaders Shaping the Game. Billboard. 23 June 2016.

External links[edit]