With 500 million users across 150 countries, the short-form video app is becoming a social media sensation

If you spend any amount of time on social media, the chances are you have probably seen a TikTok video – knowingly or not. In a short space of time, the mobile app used for creating and sharing short videos has become an almost unavoidable part of internet culture. Considering it had amassed more than 500 million users across 150 countries as of November last year, it is easy to see why.

But what exactly is TikTok? Simply put: it is a free, short-form video app popular with teens (or Generation Z, as they are known). It was created in 2016 by ByteDance, a tech company now valued at $75bn (£57.3bn) and based in Beijing, where the app is known as Douyin. In 2017, ByteDance merged with Musical.ly, an enormously popular app built around lipsyncing. Its popularity has since skyrocketed, and it is touted as the first Chinese social media app to make it big in English-speaking countries.

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