“If data collection by a company with overseas connections comprises a threat, there are threats all around. The data that TikTok collects pales in comparison to, say, what most American tech companies (as well as banks, credit agencies, and hotels) collect, both visibly and less so. Many institutions that collect sensitive data have already been hacked — it is estimated that there is a cyber attack every 39 seconds — and much of that information is for sale on the Dark Web. If the Chinese government wanted the kind of information TikTok could collect, it could be obtained in many other ways.
“What will likely prove a more pressing threat to U.S. customers is much more low-tech: Setting a precedent of banning everyday technologies could quickly spiral out of control and seriously disrupt almost all international trade.”
Shuman Ghosemajumder, global head of artificial intelligence at F5, an internet infrastructure and security company: “There’s no fundamental difference in using TikTok versus using [apps like] Facebook or Instagram.”
“Fears about TikTok do seem overblown, the user data on it, names, email addresses, phone numbers, location data, are easy to get through other mechanisms, other apps collect the same information and sell it to anyone who is willing to pay.” – Fareed Zakaria
“On a relative basis, TikTok isn’t an obvious target in terms of data collection. Its focus is sharing creative short-form videos, like dancing and lip-syncing. The app’s algorithm surfaces relevant content, using metrics like how many similar videos you watched. And compared to an app like Facebook, TikTok doesn’t require a large amount of data entry.”
”I tried to understand what data does TikTok regularly send back to its servers. I decrypted the content of the requests and analysed it. As far as we can see, in its current state, TikTok doesn’t have a suspicious behavior and is not exfiltrating unusual data. Getting data about the user device is quite common in the mobile world and we would obtain similar results with Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and others.” – Joseph Steinberg
“Let me be clear, TikTok’s number one focus is on the safety and security of our community, the users we serve all over the world,” Cloutier told Cheddar. “And at no time have we ever given any information to the Chinese government, and if they asked, we would say no. So no, I do not believe we are a national security threat in any way.”
To create the new educational content, TikTok partnered with the online safety nonprofit, Internet Matters. The organization developed a set of resources in collaboration with teens that aim to offer parents tips about navigating the TikTok landscape and teenage social media usage in general.
“TikTok is becoming a popular forum for Gen-Z and Millennials to learn about entrepreneurship and making money. To find out more, WSJ spoke with three TikTokers who are attracting large audiences that support their thriving online businesses.”
When the pandemic hit, Maher, like many others, lost her job. She creates brand content and develops business strategies for a living, and when she heard of the endless opportunities on the social media video sharing app TikTok, she gave it a try. She created content that focused on “behind the scenes of single/quarantined motherhood,” and almost instantly she started to gain a following.
“After going viral on social media, Georgia Webster’s career has been put on the fast track with her first single set to drop this week. Webster is better known as @itsgeorgiawebster on TikTok. She’s a local 17-year-old and it appears she is on her way to becoming a country star. It all started after making this post on TikTok in July.”
“The exposure has been helpful for their businesses. Wang said he’s able to provide design services internationally, expanding his reach far beyond the 30-mile radius his company initially operated in. Popke has seen demand from ‘all over the country’ for hats he sells. Butler’s business operates online, so she’s seen a surge in sales. Thompson says the viral videos have helped her business too, but she’s more excited about the education she’s been able to offer people.”
Restaurants like Wildcat’s Den in Questa, La Finca and The Blend in Albuquerque and on a bigger scale, the variety at Sawmill Market. “I had somebody comment on one of my videos yesterday you know when we share one of these restaurants we all go attack it we all go try it,” said Kingery. Her creative clips are helping these struggling businesses make extra cash. “I know that chile chicken for sure when that video got posted within two days they had to shut down for a couple of days because they ran out of food.”
Michael Mello is a local real estate agent who also started using TikTok for work. “The last two months, I’ve had over a million dollars in sales just basically just from TikTok,” he said.
“TikTok is what took my business off,” said Sylvette Escobar, who debuted her business on the app in March.
Joyner founded Advanced Pressure Washing when he was just 18 and business was booming, until COVID-19 washed away nearly all his commercial clients… Joyner said he credits his recent success with new customers to his newfound TikTok stardom.
“The platform reaches far more than just kids and teens. For a real estate investor or agent, TikTok could be a golden opportunity to grow your brand. The TikTok hashtag #realestateinvesting has 68.5 million views.”
“For many artists and creators, the app has been a career-changer, especially during the pandemic. Record labels are noticing how much emerging talent is on the platform and signing up musicians based on the popularity of a single song.”
“These artists–they are small businesses–and make their livelihoods starting off of TikTok and then using that to create different alternative revenue streams,” says UnitedMasters CEO Steve Stoute. “The work he’s done has been phenomenal.”
“TikTok has launched its new TikTok Creator Fund, dedicated to the users making a difference on the platform. Bryan Thoensen, head of content partnerships at TikTok, breaks down the fund’s mission.”
David Guetta and Sia have pre-released their new single Let’s Love for a five-day premiere exclusively on TikTok. TikTok fans will be able to use the new David Guetta and Sia track before it is officially released on September 11 in their own video creations. A-15 second edit is live on the TikTok Sounds Page.
“It’s beyond time for the creators of The Culture to benefit from that culture. That’s why I find this UnitedMasters deal so interesting. Offering a direct pipeline to audiences without the attendant vulture-ism of the recording industry apparatus is really well-aligned with a platform like TikTok, which encourages and enables “viral sounds” with collaborative performances.”
“The viral-video app’s music team has given crucial assists to artists like Roddy Ricch, Doja Cat, and Saweetie… Since last year, when TikTok exploded onto the scene in earnest as the driving platform behind Lil Nas X’s record-breaking ‘Old Town Road’ and Lizzo’s two-year-old sleeper hit ‘Truth Hurts,’ it has become one of the industry’s go-to marketing tools — and a hunting ground for new talent.”
“The success of Woo’s TikTok videos couldn’t have come at a better time, as all her freelance makeup gigs were canceled because of the pandemic. She signed with a talent agency and a manager and has been able to monetize her following, working with brands such as Thrive Market, Home Chef, Smithfield and Netflix.”
“TikTok is the most ‘right now’ of all the platforms where you can get famous in the first place, and for people like Beard it provides things they can’t replicate anywhere else… He worked in food service before his TikTok began to take off. If he couldn’t get enough people to follow him to Twitch or YouTube, if TikTok goes down, he’d have to get a day job again … in the middle of a pandemic.”
“He used TikTok’s livestream feature to raise thousands of dollars, the digital equivalent of a sidewalk musical performance with a tip jar left out. ‘I looked at myself in the mirror that night, and I cried,’ he recalls. ‘I had trained all my life for just a little bit of support and now there were thousands of people who actually cared about what I’m doing.'”
Few people have gotten more out of the video-sharing app than Addison Rae and the six other young celebrities on Forbes’ first-ever list of TikTok’s highest-paid stars. These viral video creators…have only just begun to monetize their fame, primarily through sales of personally branded merchandise and sponsored content for brands such as Sony, Chipotle and Revlon.
Spencer Polanco, 29, dreamed of becoming a professional beatboxer, though he knew that was a virtually unheard-of career path. In his words, he was “fighting for something no one really cares about.” Then, he downloaded TikTok. Today, he has nearly 40 million followers, his videos having amassed nearly 1 billion likes. He’s gained corporate sponsorships with brands like Uno, Oreo and Sony, and he’s met celebrities like Alicia Keys and Marshmello.
How do you make silly videos when you can’t leave your living room and there’s so much sadness and suffering going on in the world? Still, that isn’t stopping them from signing lucrative sponsorship deals with Hollister, Truly Beauty, Tinder, House Party, Kaiser Permanente and other brands.
TikTok values their creators and understands that their content is what makes the platform successful… That acknowledgment is critical and will help build long-term loyalty with creators. – Stephanie Smith, UTA IQ agent
“TikTok has become a hub for home inspiration and connecting with buyers and sellers. If you search the hashtag real estate, videos with that hashtag on TikTok have a combined 1.8 billion views.”
According to a recent report by the analytics firm App Annie, “TikTok has upended the streaming and social landscape.” Moreover, it has supercharged the so-called creator economy, a broad swath of entrepreneurs, influencers, and side hustlers trying to convert their looks, humor, wisdom, connections, inhibitions, insights, and dance moves into riches and stardom.
As TikTok has continued to grow in recent years, marketers and businesses have focused on the platform, often as a way to diversify their social media mix, using organic and paid strategies to get in front of the more than 29 million monthly active users on the platform.
Walmart and TikTok announced they will be partnering on the first pilot test of a new shoppable product experience on TikTok’s social video app… During a Walmart live stream, TikTok users will be able to shop from Walmart’s fashion items without having to leave the TikTok app, in a pilot of TikTok’s new “shoppable product.” The fashion items themselves will be featured in content from ten TikTok creators, led by host Michael Le, whose TikTok dances have earned him 43+ million fans. Other creators will be more up-and-coming stars, like Devan Anderson, Taylor Hage, and Zahra Hashimee.
“Neilson recently did a study which proved how many people loved TikTok. This study discovered that TikTok makes users feel mentally and physically relaxed… It is really important for businesses marketing officers to come up with new ideas which are authentic and real and relatable to people. This new study showed firms that they can approach TikTokers for marketing purposes as nowadays many people prefer to follow social media influencers as TikTok is a platform with a lot of engagement and around 1 billion users and it is a perfect place for marketing as all types of people use this app.”
Ocean Spray gifted a pickup truck to the TikTok sensation who shot a selfie video skateboarding, drinking Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice out of the bottle and lip syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Dreams.”
On Tuesday, TikTok star Nathan Apodaca, 37, was visited by a representative from Ocean Spray with a 2020 Nissan Titan PRO-4X and a trunk full of Ocean Spray.
“When we saw Nathan Apodaca’s video and the joy it created, we knew we needed to celebrate him and the happiness he spurred,” said Tom Hayes, CEO of Ocean Spray, in a statement. “What a thrill to be part of a movement that is spreading so much positivity worldwide, especially during these unprecedented times.”
Retailers can scale their advertising on TikTok, from brand takeovers for $50,000-100,000 to native ad campaigns for a minimum of $500. Not included in TikTok’s revenue is the amount brands put toward influencer marketing. Many creatives are compensated directly by brands and pay is scaled based on the number of followers and average engagement that the user has. Further, some brands might choose to compensate influencers with products. For the early adopters of TikTok advertising, the app has proven to be a worthwhile investment in a short amount of time. A few big winners include:
From clothing chains to snack companies, brands are taking over TikTok. Even Walmart, the almost 60-year-old big-box retailer, has an active presence on the social media platform that has gained explosive popularity among young people, especially Gen Z. Brands that are successful on TikTok generally utilize a mix of user-generated content, exclusive videos, and viral challenges.
Business Insider asked four social media and marketing experts which brands are finding the most success on TikTok and why. While many of the brands recommended have over one million followers, experts agreed that while helpful, a high follower count is not necessarily required for success on TikTok.
Levi’s is leveraging its advertising partnership with TikTok to connect online shoppers with the denim brand amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced retailers to close their doors — including most of Levi’s own stores. The company announced today its success as one of the first retailers to use TikTok’s “Shop Now” buttons that allow consumers to make purchases through links posted to TikTok.
Bumble worked with social influencers on TikTok to boost awareness of its app, a strategy that has become more popular as marketers seek to cut through add clutter by working with tastemakers and content creators who have a dedicated following.
When its first TikTok hashtag challenge launched Saturday, footwear retailer DSW’s aim was to merely dip its toe into the social media platform, in the words of CMO Amy Stevenson. The testing of those waters, however, proved to be more of a plunge: As of Wednesday, its #TooManyShoes campaign has generated some 1.7 billion views, she said.
“This is genuinely horrifying. Trump has just unilaterally issued orders that will effectively remove TikTok and WeChat—both expressive platforms—from U.S. app stores based on a pretext his own cursory rationalization undermines.”
“’There is no previous example in U.S. history of a complete ban of a media platform that directly deprives a quarter of the U.S. population access to information on that platform,’ NetChoice, a trade group that represents online giants such as Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google, said in a court filing.
“The group also warned that the Trump administration’s ban could provide other governments ‘with new justifications for preventing American technology businesses from accessing foreign markets.’ It said the U.S. government hasn’t provided ‘evidence that China’s Communist Party or military have acquired data on TikTok’s users in the United States,’ adding that the government could address its concerns in other ways, such as data security safeguards.”
“President Trump’s decision to blackmail ByteDance into a forced sale of TikTok’s business in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada reeks of a Mafia-like deal ‘you can’t afford to turn down.’”
“These executive orders have doubled down on policies that undermine the goal of building an open Internet for global commerce and connectivity. The risk of continuing down this path is that it will lead to a fragmented Internet where each country has its own domestic apps and nothing else. The Trump administration should rethink its approach as it moves forward.”
“While the current fight over the wildly popular TikTok is just one battle, it is also a chance for the US to counter China and take the lead on crafting international data privacy norms that will dictate the direction of tech for decades to come… Instead of merely celebrating a potential acquisition by an American company, the US should use TikTok as a guinea pig to test a global data governance framework that adopts and builds on ideas like those from Brussels.” – Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
“The need for more sophisticated measures to address China’s economic practices has become increasingly clear to Republicans and Democrats alike. But Trump’s fixation on TikTok serves only as a distraction, and highlights just how inadequate the Administration’s response to this challenge has been. ‘The U.S.-China relationship is obviously due for a reset, and Trump, rather than embracing systematic policy change, is doing scattershot things that he thinks will make for good headlines.’” – Robert Kuttner, author of The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy
“People derive joy from posting songs and videos, or de-stressing in theses tressful times with games or images of cats sitting in boxes. Simply sending a heart emoji to a family member or friend is a meaningful personal communication. People also use the apps for political activism. Influencers like Jalaiah Harmon, James Jones, and Addison Rae have hundreds to millions of followers on TikTok — with all the fun, earnings, and political influence it can bring. “Favoriting” or “liking” a post can convey meaning. It can also be financially important to the platform and to the businesses that advertise their goods and services based on that expressive information.”
“Trump’s executive orders against WeChat and TikTok are yet another abuse of emergency powers under the broad guise of national security. They would violate the First Amendment rights of users in the US who use these apps to communicate with family, friends, or business contacts. Selectively banning entire platforms harms freedom of speech online and does nothing to resolve the broader problem of unjustified government surveillance, including by our own government. To start addressing legitimate privacy concerns, Congress must ensure that any company that services U.S. consumers can only hand over data to a foreign government if there is a warrant or its equivalent.”
“Now more than ever, [the] U.S. needs to retain its identity as a free and open economy, and leverage the competitive advantages that brings… Openness, competition and freedom are sources of strength, not weakness.”
“The United States would be wise to spend less time trying to clip the wings of rising entrants to the market and more time working on legislation and the development of standards to better protect privacy, secure data, and manage online content.”
“… It’s a deeply misguided and unproductive way to try to secure data and computer networks — one that relies on the profoundly untrue assumption that data stored within a country’s own borders is more secure than data stored in other places.” – Dr. Josephine Wolff, assistant professor of cybersecurity policy at Tufts University
“The tech community will be very hesitant to go along with this app ban. It sets a precedent for the government to ban other apps or even for other global apps to be inaccessible to the US market.”
TikTok expanded its in-app parental controls feature, Family Pairing, with educational resources designed to help parents better support their teenage users. The pairing feature, which launched to global users last year, allows parents of teens aged 13 and older to connect their accounts with the child’s so the parent can set controls related to screen time use, who the teen can direct message, and more.
TikTok has revamped its Safety Center and published the Guardian’s Guide, a resource that breaks down how the app works and outlines best practices for keeping users safe. It’s aimed at parents and caregivers, and describes features like Family Pairing, which lets guardians manage a teen’s account, including setting restrictions on screen time, search and direct messages.
Stephen Austin, 82, became a TikTok star earlier this year after he filmed a video of himself cooking at his senior living home near Fort Worth, Texas… Seniors are finding that their efforts on a social-media app usually associated with young people can help bring joy and combat loneliness during a time when human connection is limited. They’re building relationships with people decades younger in videos about planking and haircuts.
TikTok is turning itself into the hottest off-off-off-off-Broadway venue around. In August, New Yorker Em Jaccs posted a TikTok clip of her love ballad for the protagonist of Disney’s 2007 film “Ratatouille.” Now she’s inspired a niche of the social-media platform to propose various elements for a DIY musical version of the film, which is about a rat with dreams of becoming a chef.
“For me, as a user and a business, we use TikTok for a lot for growth right now. At the end of day, I don’t care who owns it or who’s running it. I think what matters is that the core product doesn’t change, that it is really focusing on short-form video and engaging content. That algorithm is incredible,” he said.
“Marcus Bridgewater, who posts on TikTok as Garden Marcus, shares tips about caring for one’s plants and oneself… On TikTok, Mr. Bridgewater, 33, has shown his 653,000 followers how planting a sweet potato vine in a new spot can help it flourish, a reminder that many living things can benefit from a change of scenery. ‘It can be difficult to re-root, establish new relationships, grow beyond the old form, but it can also be what’s needed to create new and healthier roots in our future,” he said.”
TikTok has several educational resources for parents including a Top 10 Tips for Parents primer, “You’re in Control” safety educational videos (searchable under @tiktoktips in the app), a Safety Center, and an ongoing blog series with helpful tips to customize your TikTok experience. These tools are a useful resource for parents to begin discussions about TikTok’s in-app safety tools.
TikTok offers several tools to help your teen manage how they interact with other users and who can see their videos. This includes restrictions for privacy, content, comments, and messages.
As with all apps your teen may use, it’s helpful to know the options you have to make it right for you and your family. We encourage you to take time to explore the tips with your teen, scroll through our safety videos, and dive into the app together to help them learn about the features and settings that can help them customize their experience.
Avila said the app had allowed him to break the barriers of raising kids a la antigua (the old way) and instead use new media to better connect with the youth. “With my dad, we can just be ourselves and be funny,” his 15-year-old daughter, Abby, said. “I call him a little kid because he’s just adorable.”
Millions on TikTok are loving a California teacher who goes above and beyond for her students. Shannon McCourt of Monterey Bay has filmed her sister, Kayla McCourt, during e-learning sessions Kayla hosts for her kindergartners… Shannon posted several videos to TikTok of Kayla in action during her classes. Over 5 million viewed the initial footage of Kayla “swimming” for her students while donning a wetsuit.
“I’m happy with all the positivity that’s been spread,” Kayla said. “It’s really rooted from me wanting to do what’s best for my kids and me just missing them.”
A 48-year-old woman from Nebraska has become an improbable star, racking up 2.9 million followers as the Mom of TikTok. She doles out sometimes controversial advice to teens and parents and makes real connections with her followers.
Warehouse worker Nathan Apodaca is enjoying the ride of online fame from a 22-second TikTok video in which he chugs cranberry juice and sings along to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” while cruising down an Idaho highway atop a longboard.
The video has racked up more than 33 million views and counting since he posted it last month, with thousands of others posting their own versions, including politicians and even Mick Fleetwood.
Apodaca, 37, said his vehicle broke down Sept. 25, so he skated to work, singing, filming and drinking as he went. He almost didn’t post the clip, but broke into a smile when all the views and likes started to roll in — more than a million after he’d ended his shift that day.
“I’m just happy that I could bring everybody just a chance to smile, just in all this chaos that’s going on right now,” he said. “I’m glad I can just let everybody just take time out and just breathe.”
The children’s hospital is one of several groups (like Elton John’s AIDS Foundation) tapping into the huge platform to meet “young people where they are.” With an estimated 850 million active users worldwide, it’s no surprise that philanthropies with strong ties to Hollywood like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are turning to the social media app TikTok for the next generation of fundraising.
To focus on its community, TikTok in July formed a Creator Fund, where creators can earn cash for views, starting with $200 million. And with the pandemic forcing people indoors for the foreseeable future, Ms. Pappas said she and her team were working on making TikTok an uplifting place to visit. Last month, the company launched a largest national advertising campaign on television and digital media, highlighting more than 30 popular creators under the tagline “It starts on TikTok.”
“We’ve built this product for hundreds of millions of people, and we’re not looking for that to change,” said Ms. Pappas, a former YouTube executive.
Discovery is really happening in the world of TikTok, which is great for new musicals and new shows that are trying to organically reach audiences that might not have heard of them before. – Jim Glaub, founder of Broadway marketing firm Super Awesome Friends.
TikTok is a spectacular piece of pro-American propaganda. It’s soft power for the new century. If the last century was shaped by American movies and music, perhaps this one will be guided by TikTok’s real-life glimpses at gleaming American kitchens. – Rob Long, Hollywood executive producer
Beckie-Ann Galentine turned to TikTok “as a way to visit cool places that were interesting but able to be seen while social distancing,” starting with an abandoned mansion near Pittsburgh. Since June, she’s amassed nearly 200k followers and over 3M likes sharing TikTok videos of the North East’s most historic haunted hallows.
“I just hope people see that right now, while everything’s so grim, there’s still an opportunity to have fun and have adventures,” she said. “It’s not all doom and gloom with the pandemic, and a lot of people tell me how happy they are when they see my videos.”
TikTok’s live, interactive virtual concert with The Weeknd…raised $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative…[a] nonprofit is dedicated to ending mass incarceration in America, challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting human rights for the U.S.’s most marginalized groups.
“It’s a very creative and welcoming space where anybody can feel comfortable creating anything without feeling like they have to be perfect,” says comedian James Henry, who has amassed more than three million followers. “I think that’s one thing it has over every other platform. It’s the one path where I really see people being themselves.”
Barbuto says he’s one of the first lawyers ever on the app and he now has over 2 million followers, with his videos getting up to 20 million views… Barbuto says through endorsements and collaborations he does make money off his some of his videos and while it’s not his main source of income, it could be for others in a time when money is tight.