Like it or not, social networks have become an indispensable part of modern society. It all started with MySpace, the first social network whose concept was very simple. When you create an account, you get your personal page on a website that you can edit in order to present yourself and your interests.
You could edit the background of your page, add pictures, captions, and play music. Those with a bit of programming knowledge were able to upload their CSS and HTML files and thus customize the look of their page in even more detail. It was possible to connect with friends and family via a friend list and communicate by chat, directly from the website.
This first version of the social network did not focus on sharing content (images, videos, motivational messages…) but exclusively on personal promotion. A couple of years after MySpace, Facebook appears. Internet rumors say that the idea for Facebook was stolen, but since that has never been proven, we will stick to conventional history.
The base idea of Facebook was to help students write seminar papers and study for exams. When a student is preparing for an exam and browsing the internet looking for websites that can help him, if he finds a good and useful website, there was no easy way to share it with his colleagues.
Facebook’s goal was to correct this. Facebook has made it possible to create posts in which it is possible to add a link to the website, as well as a message, which you can then put on your page where all users can come, view your posts, leave their comments, and share it with their colleagues. Not so different from how Facebook works today.
After Facebook, social networks began to sprout like mushrooms after the rain and the difference between them is, mostly, by the type of content they focused on. One of the newcomers to the social network’s family is TikTok, made by the company ByteDance from China, which appeared in 2016 in China, and in 2017 in the rest of the world.
What is TikTok?
The contents of these videos are mostly dance, video diaries, challenges, “do it yourself tutorials”, jokes or anything that immediately occupies the attention. This is not that original, and there are other social networks with similar content, such as Instagram.
The novelty that TikTok brings is that all users can use audio recordings of already existing video clips. Also, users can use the audio and video effects provided by the platform itself.
For users who are not interested in creating content, the main reason to join this social network is fun. Here we come to the main reason for such astronomical success of TikTok, an algorithm that offers users content that potentially interests them.
TikTok users can give likes to the posts, comment on them and follow their favorite Tiktokeras. When using these functions, the algorithm records your activities and slowly gets to know you. The main section of TikTok is For You, and here you will be offered posts that the algorithm decides are best for your taste.
All social networks have a form of a section with content intended for you as a user, which is created based on your activities on the social network, the difference is that in TikTok, this section, according to users, is by far the best. You can often hear that the TikTok algorithm knows its users better than they know themselves. When the algorithm understands what you like and when you start scrolling, unlike some other social networks, there is no end to scrolling through video clips on TikTok.
From a purely technical point of view, this is an incredible success of the technology. On the other hand, this is a bit scary. The thought that the algorithm knows us better than we do makes us uneasy. But, if all this is used only to give us the best possible entertainment, it really is no problem. Unfortunately, things are not so innocent.
Is TikTok dangerous?
In the last couple of years, TikTok has been in the news often, mostly in a negative context. The main reason for this is the trade war between America and China, and the accusations against the social network are, for the most part, the propaganda of the Western powers.
However, the fact is that there are truths in these accusations, but it is almost impossible to find out what is true and what is a lie. We will try to write about this as objectively as we can, but keep in mind that the information we have may be incomplete or inaccurate.
The first thing that catches our eye is that you have to permit access to the microphone, camera, contacts, and location when you install a mobile application. If you do not give all these permissions, the application will not work. For the average user, who just wants to watch fun video clips, there is absolutely no need for the app to have access to these parts of the phone. The fact that the application will not work without these permissions does not inspire confidence.
The accusations are that the reason for this is China’s attempt to spy on Western countries. If we think about it a little, this doesn’t make much sense. When was the last time you had information on national security on your phone? A more compelling reason is to collect user data for the purpose of selling it to marketing agencies. Not a justification, but most other social networks do the same.
Another criticism is that the data collected by TikTok is stored in an unprotected format (the data is not encrypted). This means that if this data is stolen, which happens very often, and what we wrote about in our post: How to find out if your password has been stolen, thieves will get everything on a “silver plate”. This information may include personal information and payment card numbers.
When the data is encrypted, in case of theft, the thieves get unusable data that is not worth anything. We cannot know for sure whether TikTok stores unencrypted data. We mention this because it is not unheard of for companies to be negligent with the data of their users, and data thefts have happened many times in the past.
Perhaps the biggest “danger” of TikTok lies in how fun it is, once you start watching short videos, the algorithm will show you more and more interesting ones, so people who do not have sufficiently developed self-control can become addicted.
We sincerely believe that the accusations against TikTok are largely unfounded. The social network absolutely does things we disapprove of, but everyone else does too. Unfortunately, we live in a world where you will accept this behavior of large tech companies, or you will not use their products.
We have to admit that TikTok is a high-quality social network, mostly due to its amazing algorithm. You may not be interested in the content it offers, but if you are looking for a place to have fun and entertainment, TikTok is the right place for you.
Android and iOS
In the download link we offered TikTok for Android but if you want to download the version for iOS please click HERE.