Chinese small-video app TikTok has taken Indian cyberspace by storm. Chasing fame and fun, 15 seconds at a time, ByteDance’s app has emerged as one of the most popular in the country, especially in the hinterland and among the non-English speaking people. And since its revamp as TikTok from Musically in August last year, the app’s journey in the country has been nothing but a rollercoaster ride. From being briefly banned to its comeback, TikTok and its users have taken social media by storm, and here’s what gripped Indians in this last one year.
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As TikTok completes one year, here are the top challenges of the app that went viral in India. After drawing flak and vowing to address various criticism with an objective to change the image and how it is perceived, the viral app is now partnering with various groups and NGOs to use the platform to address some positive change.
With hashtag #EduTok, TikTok users are creating meaningful and inspiring content to impart knowledge around various themes with a focus on education, motivational, safety, health and wellness. The trend evolved as the top trend on the app this year with over 25.4 billion views. The videos created as a part of the campaign showcase the spirit of some of the TikTok creators who use the platform to bring a change in the society by sharing their knowledge with the larger community.
If you thought that Instagram is the only app where food photography has gained popularity, then you’re highly mistaken. Users on the viral app too used the platform to showcase various Indian cuisines and dishes. With more than 22 billion views, this is the second top trend on the app. And it’s not just drool-worthy dishes that have captivated all, TikTok users have even given this trend a quirky twist. Other varients of the trend like #NorthIndianFood and #SouthIndianfood too have quite a fan following.
As cricket lovers all across the globe were gripped by the World Cup fever, it was also visible in the video-making app. From supportive messages for each team to quirky take on the popular games — be it taking runs using vehicles or person themselves pretending to a ball, quirky videos from TikTok took social media by storm. It also gained popularity as TikTok was the official social media partner for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and five lucky cricket buffs were given a chance to watch India’s match live in England. With over 11 billion views it bagged the third spot.
After the brief legal tangle it found itself in in India, the app celebrated its return in a big way reclaiming the top spot as the number one free app on iOS and as a top free app in the Social category on the Google Play Store. Celebrating its over 200 million users and growing base in India, the platform introduced the challenge and met with an overwhelming response. Amassing 4.7 billion views, this was one of the most engaging challenges on the app.
Part of its global in-app travel campaign #TikTokTravel, in India the app launched it’s local in-app campaign #YehMeraIndia which showcased India as a key global travel destination. The popular challenge which was live in 100 countries and regions, got an amazing response in India too. As part of the campaign, Kerala Tourism launched its official account on TikTok and to leverage the platform to promote the state’s tourism. With over 2.6 billion views, it became a top trend to highlight the country’s hidden places.
Other trends and challenges that were popular in India during this first year of its journey were #MyTiktokStory, #BottleCapChallenge, #SafeHumSafeInternet, #DidiDance, #HahaChallenge and #YogaDay2019 among others.
After drawing criticism and a ban, TikTok India had revealed that it removed over six million videos for violating community guidelines since July 2018. TikTok had also introduced its age-gate feature for its new users, which now only allow users aged 13 years and above to login and create an account on TikTok, further adding to the safety mechanisms in place to ensure that underage users do not use the platform.
Recently, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance also announced as a testimony to its recognition of India’s efforts to frame a new data protection legislation, it took a significant step towards establishing a data centre in India. “We are now in the process of examining options for safe, secure and reliable services for our Indian users within India’s borders,” the company said in a statement. “India is one of our strongest markets and we are happy to be part of the mainframe of Digital India in 15 Indian languages,” it added.
From partnering with various government agencies and social groups, the app is now focussed to be used as a force of change.