Short-form video creation app TikTok has reached an impressive milestone. The app has now been installed on over 1 billion Android devices. It has consistently appeared in charts listing the top free apps for both the App Store and Google Play Store; at the end of February, TikTok was the third most installed free app in the Google Play Store rising to second last month. TikTok allows users to create lip-syncing videos ranging in length from 3 to 15 seconds, and short looping videos lasting from 3 seconds to as long as 60 seconds.
It was about a year ago when we told you that TikTok was a “Huawei-sized” problem. Like the phone and networking equipment manufacturer, there is a concern on the part of the U.S. government that TikTok collects data (location and biometric data in this case) and sends that information to Beijing. Because the app is popular with U.S. military personnel, U.S. lawmakers are alarmed. ByteDance, the Chinese company that created the app, is forced to share data with the Chinese government under the China Internet Security Law. And if that isn’t enough to get the attention of the U.S. government, ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming wrote a letter in 2018 in which he promised to “further deepen cooperation” with the Communist Chinese government and help promote it.
Last November, we told you that ByteDance
was being investigated by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) over its purchase of Musical.ly. The latter was a similar app to TikTok and was merged into it once the deal closed in 2017. But ByteDance never got clearance from CFIUS to complete the transaction; the agency is supposed to vet the foreign purchase of any U.S. company (Musical.ly had an office in Santa Monica). As a result, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter requesting that TikTok be the subject of a national security investigation. Schumer and Cotton said that China could be censoring images on TikTok meant for U.S. viewers, and both were concerned that the app could be used by foreign governments looking to influence Americans.
Despite all of this, TikTok continues to find new users, many of whom are looking fro something to help them pass the time while stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak. If you need something new to do, you can
in the Google Play Store for Android users. Keep in mind that to prevent internet traffic from overwhelming the system while everyone is at home, TikTok users in Europe will not be able to view content in HD for 30 days. However, content creators will be able to upload their TikTok creations in full quality.
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