TikTok Around the Clock: The party doesn’t stop at the UK TikTok House

May 11, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Before lockdown began, 6 of the most popular TikTok stars of the UK moved into a shared house together in a move which increased both their profile and the platform as a whole. 

What does this mean?

The Bytesquad collective has a combined following of over 14m. By joining forces, the content generators stand to increase their revenues from the app, with estimates suggesting that for every 2m followers you can generate £25,000+ annually. 

The Chinese-owned corporation has seen a 23% average increase in user time on the app between January – March, and this followed its success as the second most downloaded app in 2019. During lockdown, the app has become increasingly popular for its 800m worldwide users often using their time to recreate several viral dances.

What's the big picture effect?

TikTok’s emergence has not followed the same trajectory of rival sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are incorporated in the USA. TikTok is instead owned by a private Chinese holding company called ByteDance. Generally speaking, private companies are burdened by fewer reporting obligations and are therefore less open to public scrutiny, unlike public companies. Furthermore, that the company is incorporated in China has raised suspicion amongst some given global hostility towards Chinese technology giant Huawei in recent months (to see our articles on that, click here, here and here!).

Like Huawei, TikTok also now stands accused of collecting data for nefarious purposes. At the start of May, action was brought against TikTok in California under the Bioemetric Information Privacy Act 2008. The claimants accuse the platform of collecting and storing biometric data of users, without their prior consent. This lawsuit is not the first time privacy concerns have been raised about the app; in December 2019 the app was banned from work phones of the US Army and Navy. If the legal proceedings escalate then the long term success of the app appears questionable, at least in the United States.

TikTok is however battling back and has been working hard to forge a favourable public image, with a £5m donation to the Royal College of Nursing Foundation, which is the largest donation a social media company has ever made to a British organisation. 

The longer the lockdown continues and the more users TikTok gains, the more attention will be paid to the company’s data security and privacy policies going forward.

Report written by Sophie Hardava

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