TikTok, owned by the Beijing-based internet technology company founded in 2012, is a video-sharing networking service that allows users to create short dance, lip-sync, funny and talented videos, and has been incredibly popular with many throughout lockdown. They’re in the news today again, however, and this time, it’s not for bringing communities and families together.

Hailed as “the social media sensation of lockdown” by The Guardian, may businesses, including Primark, jumped on the bandwagon to get their brand out there. Thousands of people turned to the app in lockdown to try their hand at going viral, connect with friends and family or to just alleviate the boredom that staying in the same four walls can bring.

TikTok’s incredible formula for engaging and interactive content shows just how easy it is for organisations, and people, to utilise the current technology at their fingers in order to boost their PR and image. Even though they completely stopped trading throughout lockdown, Primark utilised the technology at their disposal and their TikTok account has had more than 140 million views.

But, in an interesting twist, the media giant’s shares have dropped by $6 billion today, showing that just because you’re on top of the world one minute, doesn’t mean it is going to stay that way. India has banned the use of the app, and in turn, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has applauded this move, saying that apps like TikTok serve as an addition to China’s “surveillance state”.

To be a viral success story is a double-edged sword – the higher the climb, the harder the fall, and TikTok are already been questioned over not doing enough to protect its user’s rights, especially those of young people. There are also concerns over security issues in that it reads user’s clipboards in the background.

So whilst TikTok and the app has been a lifesaver for many throughout lockdown, including businesses and organisations, until it rectifies the concerns over privacy and security, and stands by any commitments it promises to make in the future, it’s not looking very bright for its recovery.

The Rise and Fall of TikTok
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