How a Chinese short-video app took the world by storm
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. TikTok is one of the world’s most popular apps, allowing some 800 million users worldwide to make and watch addictive short videos. It is the international version of the Chinese app Douyin, which was launched by Beijing-based tech conglomerate ByteDance in 2016. But with its explosive popularity has come accusations of content censorship – something that Douyin routinely does in the Chinese market – and concerns of data security. As US-China tensions have worsened, some American lawmakers have expressed skepticism over the relationship between TikTok and
India bans TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps as border row escalates
The Indian government has banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps as its border row with China spilled over into arenas including tech, privacy and national security. The unprecedented ban, which came weeks after 20 soldiers died in a border clash in the Himalayas, is likely to affect one in three mobile users in India. India is the biggest market for TikTok, the wildly popular video-sharing app that has been downloaded more than 660 million times since its launch, according to an estimate by app intelligence agency Sensor Tower. TikTok has between 120 and 200 million active users in the country. The move marked another attempt by India to reduce dependence on its neighbor’s products and put
More people downloaded this Chinese app than Facebook
TikTok, the Chinese-owned short video platform popular among American teens, and Douyin, the domestic version of the service, became the world’s second-most downloaded app last year, according to market analyst Sensor Tower. TikTok and Douyin amassed a combined 740 million downloads last year, overtaking Facebook and Messenger, trailing only WhatsApp (which, like the Messenger app, is also owned by Facebook). As one of the rare Chinese-owned services that took off overseas, TikTok’s rise in the US has been met with pressure from lawmakers over national security concerns and alleged censorship.  The scrutiny has come at a time of mounting skepticism in Washington over China’s rising global in
TikTok boss hopes DC visit can ease censorship and privacy concerns
The Chinese-owned social media app TikTok is wildly popular in the US, especially among teenagers who spend hours posting videos about the latest dance trends, their love-life complaints and personal unique talents.  As it grows into one of the world’s most used social media platforms, TikTok has found itself under increased scrutiny in the US, its third-largest market.  In an attempt to assuage concerns over censorship and user privacy, the head of the short video platform, Alex Zhu, is embarking on a goodwill tour to Capitol Hill.  The meetings with American lawmakers, scheduled for this week, come as the video app’s Beijing-based owner ByteDance is under increasing scrutiny to address cen
US teenager lashes out at China’s Muslim detention camps on TikTok
A TikTok video showing a teenager bringing attention to China’s mass detentions of Muslim minorities while curling her eyelashes has gone viral on the Chinese-owned social platform.  “Hi guys. I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes,” the creator, who describes herself as a teenage Muslim girl in the US, said in the clip that resembles a beauty tip video.  “The first thing you need to do is to grab your lash curler, curl your lashes obviously, and you are going to put them down, and use your phone that you are using right now, to search about what’s happening in China, how they are getting concentration camps throwing innocent Muslims in there.” i always wondered how girls get the
The short video app at the center of a US security debate
The videos look innocuous enough. Selfies. Stunts. Scripted comedy. cat lady in training pic.twitter.com/LKovVQYknh — TikTok (@tiktok_us) November 2, 2019 But TikTok, a rare Chinese-owned social media app that has thrived outside China, has found itself the target of a serious accusation: threatening American security. The intensifying scrutiny on the app, owned by the Chinese internet giant ByteDance, has come amid rising suspicion in Washington of Beijing’s growing global influence. US lawmakers and critics of the Chinese government have accused the popular video-sharing app of potentially allowing China’s ruling Communist Party to exploit information about its millions of American users f