~/Simon's Blog ❯

TikTok is horrible, and we need to accept that.

Unless you've been living under a rock, then you know what TikTok is. If not: TikTok is supposed to be a Platform where you can share shortform videos, similar to Vines, to entertain or otherwise share your thoughts with the world.

However, is TikTok really just that? Just a video sharing platform?

Today, we will dive in, and see what TikTok is really about. Taking into account their History, controversies, data breaches, and much more.

TikTok's History

TikTok has quite an extensive, and wild history. Involving testing in China, "The Big Merge", and it's massive rise world wide.

First, let's talk about the inception of TikTok, or "Doujin" as it was initially known in China. TikTok (Doujin) was made within the span of 200 days at ByteDance, and quickly gathered a big audience in China, with over 100 Million users within just a year. These results were just in China alone. However, in 2017, they went global, making the app available for everyone around the globe. And go global they did, as they are now topping the application trends for the Google Play and AppStore constantly, and have over 1 billion downloads on Google's store front alone.

As some additional background, ByteDance also aquired the previously popular app Musical.ly to enter the global market initially, which is what I refer to as "The Big Merge" here.

Where are we at now?

Nowadays, TikTok is so wildly popular that it became a part of internet culture, boasting massive amounts of users, views, likes, and other metrics on the platform every day; It's almost impossible to pretend it isn't there from all the videos which are being shared from the platform.

This sets TikTok into stone as one of the most popular, and most quickly growing applications in history, which is on it's way to gain even more attention in the future.

Controversies and concerns with the platform

Over the years, there's been tons of things going wrong on TikTok. From censorship, to promoting conspiracies, all the way over to [concerns regarding user harassment]. They truly have you covered with everything.


TikTok - Being a chinese application - was and still is already suspicious in many people's eyes. However, it doesn't get made better by events like these, where the platform promises one thing, and entirely fails to deliver. This controversy is about how TikTok is failing at not promoting Pro-War content and disabling uploads from this country as they had promised[^1]. What had essentially happened is that TikTok promised to disable uploading for Russian accounts, in an attempt to counteract Russia's "Fake News Law", yet, the ratio of people posting Anti-War versus Pro-War content was still 1 Anti-War video per 10 Pro-War videos due to all the old content, and state-backed content still being accessible on the platform, ultimately leading to a frozen pro-war TikTok in Russia. My goal is not to put my opinion into this section, however, it is still quite peculiar...


Over the years, TikTok has turned into a platform almost perfectly suited for promoting conspiracies and other Fake-News. This is due to the fact that on TikTok, everyone has a highly customized "For You Page", consisting of videos alghorithmically chosen for any given user, made by other users which are likeminded. This means if you believed in Covid-19 conspiracies for instance, that as soon as you started interacting with other likeminded people online, TikTok would eventually pick up on that and generate a "bubble" of other people supporting your opinion.

User Harassment and Cyberbullying

oh how I hate that word...

Whilst TikTok is desperately attempting to deal with the past two issues, they are being bombarded by more and more issues by the minute. One of those is user harassment on the platform. Ever since the platform has existed, people with disabilities and people of minorities have been reporting of harassment by other users on the platform. What was TikTok's answer? Suppressing videos by people of minorities and with disabilities. Not only that, but people falling under having "abnormal body shape", "ugly facial looks", "too many wrinkles", and many other absurd criteria have reportedly also been suppressed.

The allmighty Algorithm

The algorithm has been a point of debate on TikTok for ages now. It's the biggest and most important part of TikTok as a platform, and it would not be the same without it. The algorithm honestly deserves it's own blogpost, which is why I will only be touching on it shortly here.

The alroghithm really only needs a one thing to pin down what you like: watchtime. Essentially, instead of tracking how many likes you give, who you follow, and what not, it really only analyses what videos you watch for how long, and like that, is able to tap into every ever so small interest you might have. They don't need to know your interests, they will know soon enough.[^2]

Thanks for reading! I wish you a good rest of the day, evening, night, or whatever other time you're reading this!

This blogpost took me a while to make, and I might even update it in the future. It was really just made because I didn't want to re-iterate on why I hate TikTok over and over, in addition to giving everyone some insight into the platform. This is far from everything that TikTok has done, and thus, I'd really recommend you check the Wikipedia page.

#privacy #security #social-media #tiktok