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TikTok has reached 1B MAUs (tiktok.com)
80 points by mfiguiere 62 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 136 comments

TikTok has definitely become the platform for short form video content. It used to be YouTube, but it's since matured into a place to watch more well produced videos in the 20 minute range. If you haven't given TikTok a chance, try it out.

Wasn’t the tiktok app lambasted for being terribly intrusive and data-collecty?

People keep saying this. But the app is actually one of the best I've encountered in terms of permissions -- it asks you for pretty much nothing up front, so if you use the app to only watch fun stuff and aren't too invested in it, then you can get by without granting the app any permissions at all!

1B users don't care. Content is amazing though!

1B users don't know.

1B users will find out the hard way just like with every social network: Data breaches.

Won’t be surprised to see it eventually happen.

I still have to experience the dire consequences of all breaches my data was leaked in. I guess the worst consequence is probably that I experienced better targeted ads (that were blocked by my ad-blocker anyway?).

I'd say 1B users don't really care, and rightly so, because really the data of which Tik-Tok videos you watch is not really something life threatening for most of them.

What would even a total and complete data breach reveal about your average user though? That Jane Doe from Billings, Montana loves (has a high interaction rate with) short cat videos, squat exercise tutorials, and relationship-oriented TikToks?

None of these 1B users upload their credit card info or social security numbers to the platform.

I don’t know how detailed their analytics are, but using TikTok does somewhat resemble some sort of psychological experiment with fast flying stimuli. It figured me out pretty quick.

Nobody's uploading their SSN or CC numbers on TikTok, so who cares?

People didn't care after the Equifax hack, and that had far more personal information.

That and the fact that the company is based in China and thus is fully beholden to any and everything that the Chinese government wants from them, without any checks and balances.

What about the US-based companies that are fully beholden to any and everything that the US government wants from them, without any checks and balances (as has been proven by Snowden, Assange, etc.)?

Please stop with the Sinophobia already


There are many great reasons to not trust US companies with our data. I for one choose not to in most cases. Hell even the California DMV sells emails and home addresses now. (I only give them a P.O. box)

American apathy on data privacy has created some real monsters, but those monsters are not comparable to the CCP.

Calling it Sinophobia dismisses it as an irrational fear.

It is largely undisputed that the CCP dragnet tracks, manipulates, and censors the most minutiae of details to actively shape and control the culture of billions of people while also disappearing millions that don't conform to be tortured and killed in concentration camps.

It should be assumed any product operating under CCP rule will at some point be covertly used to further the surveillance dominance of the CCP.

It is possible to have great respect for the Chinese people and their rich history and culture while also having a very healthy fear for giving the CCP more ways to extend their culture control goals beyond their borders.

TikTok has already been been caught censoring CCP criticism: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/sep/25/revealed-...

All of this is easy to say for someone living on the 'other side of Imperialism', as Vijay Prashad beautifully says:


I take issue with everything you've written. You somehow still believe the words you use are themselves evidence (and it's obvious they originate from western media firms who manufacture consent - it impacts you (unconsciously) even if you consider yourself very progressive/leftist).

Who controls the world through financial imperialism? It isn't China.

Seriously, please consider a few of these:




You are linking videos to people that are celebrating the 100th anniversary of communist China. What am I missing?

There was a reddit post about it (something like "I reverse engineered TikTok and found blah blah"), but it was likely fraudulent. There was also that iOS bug with clipboard notifications. I think those were the source of most of the hubbub.

I literally use a second phone to browse things like Tiktok for this reason

Probably same as fb and insta. Just use it via browser.

(It wasn’t trusting my incognito mode when using playwright, but saving session while in iPhone mode worked)

Tiktok doesn't work as well in the browser. I do this from time to time when someone sends me a link, but they seem to show popups after a period of time telling you to get the app. It makes it pretty hard to use casually or to search for specific content.

Seems duplicitous to suggest that a web browser provides something like an anonymizing client.

A web browser prevents access to permissions like contacts, photos, location. I use Facebook and Instagram very rarely but always do so in a web browser for this very reason. It's not that it's "anonymous" since obviously I'm logged in with my own profile, but it helps to compartmentalize their access both in terms of overall permissions, and the timing of that access. Facebook can't push out an update that sends my location somewhere 24/7 if I don't have a Facebook tab open in my browser.

Exactly this. And exactly this why every page like messenger.com heavily pushes you to install native apps and/or is broken in some peculiar way that makes it barely useful.

How about just not going to Chernobyl rather than repurposing some old scuba and WW2 chemical defense gear into a hazmat suit?

I certainly don't need to justify my reasoning for using Facebook or Instagram to you, but I assure you there are some things which are easier when you have an account. Many small businesses exclusively use FB to post updated hours, for example.

I am well aware of the privacy and social issues around using those websites. Being careful and mindful with my access and the content I let them receive (e.g. limiting permissions via a browser instead of native app, not uploading my entire life to the site, not regularly interacting with the content) is how I manage my personal risk.

If you're aware of some methods Facebook is using to break out of the browser sandbox and access my content without my permission, then by all means I'm open to review any sources you may have to suggest that my mobile browser is an inappropriate tool for restricting access.

> I certainly don't need to justify my reasoning for using Facebook or Instagram to you, but I assure you there are some things which are easier when you have an account.

Of course, every deal with the devil offers something in the short term.

Why would I want to watch short form video content? Genuinely curious here.

It's a similar dynamic to why tweets can be better than long form blog posts. The time limit forces content creators to actually get the content out. On YouTube (which I still love) it's endless intros, ads, disgressions, and sidetracks. YouTube videos often have the similar quality, it's just 40 seconds of content spread out over 12 minutes. TikTok and twitter incentive for denser content.

I believe I read somewhere that the YouTube recommendation algorithm favors videos in the range of 12-20 minutes. True or not, I wonder if the rumor is a reason why many YouTube creators fall within that time window.

Don’t know about the algo (who does?) but the ability to place mid-roll ads was minimum 10min, now lowered to 8min.

It can convey more information than the stationary images that dominate much of reddit, while taking less effort to consume than text (it's really hard to get people to engage with more than the headline in written content).

TikTok is imho one of the closest approximations of a marketplace of ideas, or a penny-university. Every topic under the sun is talked about (even if TikTok tries to censor a bunch of topics), you have various experts from their fields giving insights into their daily lives (like snippets from the daily life on an arctic base) or short tutorials (how to draw an owl kind of stuff), but also discussions about philosophy or how to deal with daily life (e.g. how to declutter your space if you are depressed, or how to arrange furniture). And unlike e.g. YouTube's recommendation algorithm that makes everything seem bland because it only shows you stuff that's like stuff you already know, TikTok's algorithm keeps exposing you to new things tangentially related to what you watched/liked, so it's more like drifting though an ocean of videos, with new stuff happening all the time.

That said, TikTok should totally be enjoyed in moderation, and there are some places on TikTok you should avoid. If you linger on videos showing teens twerking, you will get more videos of teens twerking; and it's easy to see how that kind of content makes it a worse place for teens specifically (plus the extreme prevalence of filters, so everyone on TikTok looks "better" than their real life version)

The short format is very much like sales pitches, so everyone there is like a salesman, bser of sorts.

Millennials created this trend, Generation Z is growing it. Social media is essentially an addicting & fun platform for mass brainwashing.

Sounds like a gigantic attention suck designed to stimulate addiction. Moreover, it’s unclear to me why opening the floodgates to more human expression without any concern for the quality of that expression is desirable. The virtue of social media seemed self evident in 2006 when we had little experience of what it would mean in practice; in 2021 however, I think the premise that megaphoning unfettered expression is inherently good requires justification, particularly given the instability it has introduced at the societal scale and the addictive behavior, poor mental health, and loss of concentration it has often imposed at the individual level.

Individual humans got along just fine for millennia without being able to broadcast the minutia of their thoughts for likes and subscribes: what are we really gaining by suddenly being able to do so in the course of two decades, and is it really worth the trade offs?

Humanity as a whole has spent the last couple Millennia accomplishing preciously little. Not because there weren't people with bright ideas, but because pivotal ideas often took centuries to spread. Many see the introduction of coffeehouses as a place of conversation in the 17th century as crucial for the Age of Enlightenment [1]. The speed with which we can enact technological and social change is proportional to the speed of exchange of ideas. In the 20th century the power to spread ideas had largely monopolized, but now the internet gives us many-to-many interaction beyond the local level. And I will gladly concede that we haven't figured how to do that properly, Facebook and Twitter seem like mostly failed experiments. But that doesn't mean that cracking the code for global many-to-many interaction isn't worth it.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_coffeehouses_in_the_17...

I agree that precious little occurred in terms of technological advancement. However, I think it’s a more tendentious claim with respect to cultural achievement. For example, all the great epic poems of the Western tradition predate the Enlightenment (although there have been notable failed/incomplete epics since then). In terms of Humanism, it’s unclear to me that we’re doing better than our far less technologically sophisticated ancestors.

That aside, my broader concern is with our civilizational stability. We are still too close to and to involved in the events of the past two years to achieve any kind of objectivity, but I am increasingly concerned that, at least in the American context, things are not going to work out. Between worsening climate change, an incipient and solidifying neo-Fascist mass movement, the disinformational chaos of social media, the mass death of a pandemic, and an increasingly sclerotic US hegemony, our civilization is experiencing profound pressures of the sort which historically presaged extended periods of violence and chaos.

I hope that I am completely wrong, but it’s difficult to read the stories (and for that matter the crueler comments) of r/HermanCainAward and not come away with the conclusion that social media has broken our society to the tune of 2000 unvaccinated dead per day and counting.

> taking less effort to consume than text (it's really hard to get people to engage with more than the headline in written content)

Why would someone for whom reading requires little effort want to engage with people for whom reading requires too much effort?

> TikTok is imho one of the closest approximations of a marketplace of ideas

Given they are fairly aggressive at censoring views that run against progressive perspectives, can they really be a true marketplace of ideas? Topics like the lab leak theory or nuanced views on trans issues will net you a ban a lot sooner than on other platforms.

Short form can force the creator to cut the cruft and show the important part. Recipes, for example, don't include backstories about Grandma's doll collection or unnecessary banter between hosts, but do show how to "fold in the cheese".

[0] meme reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NywzrUJnmTo

[1] how to fold ingredients: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1JjaT-Y8Pc

Same reason you’d use twitter I suppose. That said TT’s biggest advantage is it’s recommendation engine. It really picks up quick your interests.

Downsides of tiktok is:

* can’t find upload date

* cant effectively share links in comments (they aren’t clickable)

* pretty confusing video editor if you don’t wanna share results

Because you actually get to see people in their environment and interact with them by speaking in response, as you would have in an actual conversation.

It's not about content, it's about communicating with video snippets.

Except it's not. A natural conversation, that is. Crafting a TikTok isn't as trivial as responding to someone in-person. Maybe some videos are as effortless as they seem, but there's a ton more effort that goes into popular ones that I see than meets the eye. I'm not talking about cosplay where the performer has clearly spent an inordinate time on their costume, but the sheer amount of writing and takes and retakes and editing that go into a good amount of the content (on my FYP anyway. Maybe I self selected myself out of the "talk at phone while driving to work" corner of TikTok that is more conversational.)

If it was simply the short video aspect lending itself to feeling like it's a conversation that's driving engagement, Vine wouldn't have died the ignoble death it did. So imo there's more to it than that but it's definitely successful.

It is about content (imo) but that content came at the exact right time in humanity's history - during a pandemic when many people are feeling lonely, and a time when many people have their own smartphone and Internet is ubiquitous. The content, along with the algorithm surfacing it, is highly personal. While a video is obviously not personally made for me, the character in the video talks to me like it was, and that small delusion, makes the content highly engaging, and the short duration makes for more signal to plug into the algorithm.

Very interesting distinction. I remain deeply skeptical that this is a good or useful technology, but you’ve effectively summed up why it’s compelling to users in comparison to other social media. Thanks!

There's a broader question of "why would I want to consume any sensory input? Why would I want to read a book, watch a movie, look at a sunset, have a conversation?" I can't help you there, consult your local philosopher.

But if you do want to consume sensory input, what I find TikTok excels at is: * Dances / skits * Musical collaborations (esp. The Wellerman) * Funny little videos like with a kitten or puppy * Recipes / cooking techniques

I particularly had in mind “why would I want to consume this particular form of sensory input in preference to others?” and “why is this good and useful to an individual and a society as opposed to just a platform for selling noise?” and “what are the social, ethical, and economic trade offs of devoting our time, privacy, and money to platforms like this?” As you note, these are questions that don’t necessarily have answers; I’m just trying to clarify for myself whether I should view 1B MAUs with dread, indifference, or appreciation.

And they probably got there because Twitter killed Vine...

People still share Vines on TikTok!

When was YouTube ever the platform for short form content. YouTube has for the longest time pushed for videos of at least 10/15mins in length - else their algorithm will downgrade you.

It’s only recently in response to TikTok that they had YouTube Shorts, a “timeline” that occasionally shows up on your feed consisting of 1-3mins(?) videos.

Ya, no. Chinese-shillin

Ok I don‘t want to make any unfounded accusations, but every post on Tiktok, there‘s the same kind of comment: „Try Tiktok. The recommendation engine is insane, you have to try it to believe it.“

I’ve tried to see what all the fuss is about multiple times and from what I’ve seen it just seems so out of character for the HN crowd to like that platform.

I'll just relink to my last comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28024747:

> My impression is that TikTok is the most shameless exploiter of curating content to maximize attention. You resign all the control and hope to petition "the algorithm" to change what you get to see -- like some kind of a god that ultimatly controls you, no matter what you sacrifice. They are in a position to spread propaganda and prevent imformation from spreading -- or you from being heard. Even more so, this can be individualized (especially with the rise of virtual influencers). I wonder, if it might eventually be able to change someone's mind by slowly nudging them in the right direction, breaking down pre-existing beliefs and positions. And as youtube, twitter, etc. have shown, one of the main ways to increase addiction is to spread controversy. Have people screem and cry at one another, who wants mediation? Society is being reduced to a means of entertainment.

Considering that one out of eight human being are using this app is terrifying to me. Even more when considering that people in the third world might be less likely to use a video-intensive service like this, meaning that in the first-world, especially among people my age the rate is even higher! I consider it a concrete danger, that should be taken seriously.

Newspapers can spread propaganda or keep information from spreading, or you from being heard.

Yes, everyone using TikTok as their only source of news and entertainment is incredibly bad. But that can be said (and has been said) about almost any source of news or entertainment. We should rather teach us and our children healthy engagement with media, how to avoid addiction and how to make sure we engage with different platforms.

If you don't let any one platform monopolize your attention, having a Chinese platform as counterbalance to all the American platforms seems great. A Chinese platform is unlikely to have the same interests as a US platform, so it's easier to see the bias in either if you consume both.

Yes, but newspapers are not in a position to generate an image of your psychology, that could be used to manipulate you. Imagine any belief you currently hold dearly, be it social, personal or political, that you could be manipulated into betraying. Something like this is either the basis or the prototype for a unforeseen danger to society -- and that is without taking into consideration how horrible the culture on the platform can be.

I think this is a generic statement that can be applied to any social media nowadays. I wonder what's the solution?

My feeling is that (public) social media doesn't work in general. This is not a technological problem, it is just accelerated by technology.

This means one eighth of humanity uses tik tok once a month. Only about 3.8 billion people worldwide have a smartphone. We’re saying that about one in 4 smartphone users registers a hit on tik tok every month. That seems really high.

Considering that it is banned in India and not operating in China, these numbers do seem too high. There's probably a pretty large amount of people with multiple accounts, be it for companies/organizations or pushing their own profile further with vote- and view-manipulation.

That said, TikTok is everywhere in developing nations, and the younger generation in western countries is also fully hooked. Social media platforms are such an interesting business and social phenomenon, I half expected the sector to reach maturity with the options available once Instagram really took off... Now the new kid on the bloc is starting to overtake all the behemoths.

Maybe some people have multiple accounts, I agree that numbers seems too high

Methinks that includes ‘users’ visiting embeds. They create a user for anon web visitors and record their content interactions/preferences in local storage- you don’t have to be logged in for this to happen. I’ve been visiting tiktok.com without an account or the app and they serve consistently similar content to that user based on my interactions.

One of the most surprising things to me about TikTok is that it isn't a Bay Area startup. For the longest time every hot social media app/platform was American.

That's because TikTok gets something that people here don't.

Just look at this comment thread; very few people understand what's positive about TikTok, what's new and different about it, and why both Instagram and YouTube can't catch up.

Literally all criticisms apply to Instagram too, but TikTok is not Instagram.

That's because TikTok is way more decentralized than any other photo/video platform: it's less creator/consumer relationship, and more of a community, like reddit or HN, where you communicate with video snippets.

I.e. by talking, which is natural for us. It's a big, asynchronous in-person dialogue.

There's content too, but that's not what makes the platform unique.

Why the Bay Area is blind to that, I can't comprehend.

agree with all of this. in addition i am yet to see a content algorithm that is as good as tiktok's. i swear it knows what i like more than i do. ancedotally, whenever my close friend and i share a tik tok there is ~50% chance we have already seen it.

To be fair, HN is a particularly conservative crowd that I wouldn't say represents the tech industry as a whole.

If you're trying to find people in the Bay Area that appreciate TikTok, might I make a suggestion? If you use the TikTok app instead of this web forum, lovely a place as it may be, you may have better luck connecting with like minded people. Because saying the Bay Area is "blind" to it is ridiculous. The Bay Area is less about conspicuous consumption to the same degree that LA or Miami can be, but investing in TikTok adjacent businesses, aka content houses, is big business and big money. Programmers might not get it, but ask someone who doesn't get TikTok what they thought of Twitter when it first came out.

> That's because TikTok is way more decentralized than any other photo/video platform

TikTok's biggest strength is in encouraging users to post, but I'm struggling to see how it could be considered decentralized. Are you pointing out that it's not top-down moderated? There's a broad code of conduct, but outside of that it's pretty open on content, and thus I can start an account and talk about whatever special interest I have - and find others with that special interest. (As long as that special interest isn't on an opaque list of bad topics.)

I disagree. How is Tiktok different from Vine or YTMND aside from different video formats, editing tools and a catalogue of songs? I understand they were able to monetize it unlike the other two but they seem very much the same.

You mean, aside from literally everything that makes a platform?

I have outlined how it's different, already, but I guess I can give a more detailed answer:

* You interact with other users with videos in the same way you interact with users on HN with comments. There is a built-in tool to "quote" (aka Stitch), and link your video to a video or text comment that you are responding to.

* The "duet" mode enables a new way of interacting: making something together with other people, take and remix what they've done to make something new. In particular, using audio from other videos made something new: video memes, where people act to the audio that's being played.

If you've ever seen Rocky Horror Picture Show live-acted, it's like that, but at scale.

* Removing the friction for making a video is, in fact, a big deal. The format (vertical video), the very-much unpolished posts (unlike Instagram), the sheer quantity of them removes inhibition from hitting that record button and sending off your random thought about anything out there.

On top of this, one thing that I didn't mention is:

* Algorithm that does a good job of linking people to each other in addition to showing you content. As a result, TikTok automatically forms communities.

If you use reddit, you know how cohesive subreddits can be. TikTok's algorithm creates a somewhat similar experience by bringing people interested in the same things together.

I hope this suffices for a start.

Before further commenting, I'd recommend you actually use the platform. Forming a superficial opinion based on second-hand views doesn't result in being well-informed.

I think it's more interesting to me what a well executed marketing coup it was for them to go from Musically to TikTok. It's almost something that completely changed the platforms image... Musically when it was a thing was pretty much solely associated with underage people doing silly dances. Basically a platform for kids that most adults didn't even consider being a part of. But with TikTok that changed. It still has that same content of course but it is no longer limited to that and it no longer seems shady to most people.

Depends how you want to track it. TikTok was previously Musical.ly, and they had a Santa Monica office. The other famous app out of Santa Monica? Snapchat

I wonder how many of these users are unique. TikTok makes it simple to have two or more accounts. A number of content creators (especially ones who make NSFW non-nude content) have alt accounts that they can use when their main gets muted.

Meanwhile FB, Instagram and twitter are full of bots and fake profile.

Something that definitely can be done in TikTok also but the nature of the content (video) make it more complicated.

FB is full of people with double profile also, I've friends that have been having two profiles for ages. I think is a common issue

Those two or more accounts have a shared device id

Yes. These numbers are probably made up.

Instagram despite being around for much longer and not being banned in the largest internet market (India) has only 1B MAU.

Tiktok isn't available in China either. That's a different app from bytedance if I understand it correctly

It seems insane how quickly they did it. How long did it take for YouTube to reach 1B MAUs?

Youtube also started in a very different world in regard to ubiquitous online access, not to mention mobile online access.

That is very true. YouTube's growth was still as explosive as TikTok's given the environment at the time for sure.

Everything I know about TikTok I've learned from ItsAGundam[1] and ReplicantPhish[2]. I steer clear of it, and don't see the appeal. Not to mention my general aversion to supporting a CCP mass social engineering / information operations platform.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EU_gdYAYDw [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCduKlmN88c

TikTok has been banned in India for a while now. Imagine where it'd be if it wasn't.

Is their anything to replace it india, or is it back to cricket and Bollywood (the two industries it threatened ) ?

There are multiple different applications now, trying to be an alternative to TikTok. But none of them has consolidated the market.

Most used: IG Reels, MX Takatak (from MX player), Gaana shots. When TikTok was banned, there were dozens of apps trying to be the next big thing.


Am I the only one who sees it as a problem that US and European companies can't really work on China market, but they leave their markets wide open for Chinese companies?

Like, no company is allowed in US/Europe if it does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state? Isn't it how conforming to local rules and regulations should work?

UPD: clarification due to people mentioning Mercedes, etc: my comment was mostly directed at internet companies.

That's the unique/controlling way that China works. They block foreign apps to spur the development of local alternatives. But plenty of western businesses have thrived in China. KFC, Pizza Hut, Apple, Audi to name a few off hand. I definitely suggest visiting a Pizza Hut in China some time in your life, it's an experience (they serve wine).

and escargot

> Like, no company is allowed in US/Europe if it does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state?

But not even US or most Europe formally recognizes Taiwan as a country. In Europe only Holy See in Vatican recognizes.

apple, bmw, mercedes benz, ikea would like a word with you

I'm guessing they mean internet services. The list of blocked services in China is large. Most of the companies you associate with using the internet in the US are blocked in China.


Microsoft, Tesla, Walmart

there’s Huawei and others that can’t work in the US https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/US-...

Yeah, the broken reciprocity (and how the West got there) is embarrassing or even upsetting.

What if... just what if a few decades ago WTO didn't take Chinese word for it?

I think any developing or non-western country really should be wary of WTO. In general it doesn't seem to have best interest of them at heart. Instead playing for established players...

I think you oversimplify the situation, it is actually important to look at things on a case-by-case basis, reciprocity is very complicated. Facebook was banned in China following the Urumqi Riots in 2009, which led to 200 deaths and many more injured. The protests that turned violent were largely organized via Facebook, and the company denied giving out details about the organizers. Not cooperating with law enforcement got them banned.

Similarly, Google did not want to enforce Chinese censorship in their search engine, so their services were slowly banned, too.

Both companies do follow censorship laws in other countries, like Germany, albeit much more reasonable ones. These are laws that chinese companies must follow, too, but western companies couldn't justify it to their employees, investors and governments, so they pulled out. TikTok would probably be fine with handing over protester data to the FBI if asked.

A larger point to press the Chinese on when it comes to economic access are forced joint ventures, which have for example been largely abolished for the EU and are generally receding in importance.

Another issue is IP theft, and a court system that (according to some) favors Chinese companies over foreign ones. However, instead of trying to change how China treats our companies, the new way seems to be to just trying to reduce access of chinese companies. The bans of Huawei for example are actually discriminatory, and the idea that TikTok must be sold to be allowed to continue to operate was pretty outrageous. Biden seems to continue with Trumps policies in that regard, but with a much softer touch.

This was the digital trade war Trump almost started. He started banning all their tech companies because they banned our tech companies.

It’s a totally fair point, but who knows how it would have all ended. We’ll see what happens next year when Xi is up for lifetime appointment. I feel like that’s the world’s one chance to change China.

Plenty of foreign companies operate in China, so not sure what you’re going on about.

If TikTok ever adds group chat, it’ll be the primary messaging tool in my household. Hell, it may be right now even without that.

Nice. TikTok is very fast paced. For me it has done so many oscillations between "this is very interesting stuff" to "it is trash now, it used to be good" that it's kind of making a fool of me. Not the usual slow downwards curve of most sites. Something about how it works means it seems to continuously re-invent itself.

Magnificent news for the investors in Bytedance since those monthly 1B users on TikTok are providing great shareholder value for them and when Bytedance IPOs it will give a massive return on investment for them.

As for the users, who cares? they are working for the algorithm like before and its business as usual.

Shows how great alibaba's cloud is

It's sad they recently got forced to use something else in the west, i bet that was one of the conditions to avoid getting banned in the west ;)

That's why we can't have nice things

Looks like the american's administration don't want cloud competition globally, reminds me of Alstom's story, and recently OVH 'fires', sort of

- https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Caixin/TikTok-owner-ByteDa...

The other cloud providers can not compete inside China either. The trade wars have been on the internet for some time as each geopolitical region has tried to control access.

Most probably they'd use 0 cloud native services and everything run as a custom stack in bounce of compute instances with auto scaling and load balancer in front (or maybe K8, I'm oversimplifing)

Honestly, it shows that perhaps they can migrate the stack easily everywhere else (and indeed they did in the west).

Nice. I wonder what kind of social media is gonna grow next to tiktok/fb/insta

If we extrapolate the trend, I'm imagining something like bladerunner 2049's baseline test:


The bare minimum of high velocity: Content, Query Emotional Response, Receive Emotional Response, Repeat

Is there auditing on their #s ?


Monthly active users

Number of distinct people that opened the app in the last thirty days

Monthly Active Users

Why would anyone willfully give their bio-metrics to China?

how much data have they harvested to target anti china activities you reckon? i've had videos removed talking about politics in china


Let’s come back in a decades time and we will see if they continue to complain about it or if all the cool kids moved on to another shiny new social media toy.


Uhhhhh okay

Just a little scary a Chinese company is shaping the minds of our youth.

Twitter is worse.

Reddit is more propagandized.

That or USA based one... It's kinda toss up. At least the other one isn't bombing civilians in third countries.

Let’s hope that we still have the freedom of expression to make dancing videos in Winnie the Pooh costumes in Hong Kong then.

Americans can read about those bombings anywhere. Where do the Chinese go to read about what their government does?

I choose the scary I have the potential to vote out every few years or so.

I don't have that option with either, so I must go with lesser evil.

Like it make any difference?

I would have thought governments would be more worried about China spying on everyone and the insane data collection from TikTok (yes it might have an American operator in the US, but I can imagine they found a way to still siphon all that data to the mainland)...its a pretty big security risk if one thinks about it

Just curious, but what about TikTok's data collection is at all distinct from what Facebook/Google collects? Wasn't it just on the front page that Google keeps a history of your purchase receipts in your Gmail account even when you've deleted them? This article[0], while debunking the "Facebook is listening through your microphone" myth, presented research that at least ~9000 apps were screenshoting your in-app activity, possibly recording video, and sending it to either a third-party or themselves.

Or is it just that TikTok is a Chinese company?


Their algorithm is definitely capable of determing gender and sexual orientation just from your pattern of swipes, and I imagine many other things that could be potentially sensitive. I imagine China could have a shadow social credit profile on every active user, figure out who is most susceptible to blackmail or targeted phishing for state sponsored hacking. Of course this is a massive national security risk.

Would be interesting the math behind processing all of that data to get some useful metadata out of it.

I don't understand the big risk. They build a profile about the kind of short form videos you interact with. It's pretty limited.

Your friends.. mines your phone for data.

Have you read about the Cambridge Analytica scandal?

Yea, it’s so overblown

How? I know exactly zero people who uses it. However, I do see TikTok videos on Instagram and Facebook all the time.

It's super popular. My son started using it and it roped in me and my wife. Of my son's peer group, everyone uses it. Like virtually every kid. I completely believe those numbers.

I’m very surprised by this number as well. It must be young kids. I don’t know a single TikTok user either (and I don’t have kids).

I know a lot of TikTok users that are my age (~36). It isn't my peers that work as software engineers at tech companies; it's more "normal" people that I have met through Discord communities.

(I don't mean it's abnormal to be a software engineer or anything, just that we're overrepresented on HN. This is our social media. I don't use or enjoy TikTok.)

Do you know many people under 30?

even older people are starting to use it.

34, active user.

It's the freshest thing out there.

The closest thing to IRC/chatrooms of Web 1.0 by how it feels.

Yes, beats even Discord.

Like, remember the days where you could just go online and bump into random people, and it would be interesting? And you could just throw an ugly homepage with your dog and "under construction" gifs without thinking twice, just because it's fun?

That's what TikTok is like, but with videos.

Happy to run into people who recognize how delightful it is. I've seen so much variety if the videos on my fyp page (how to start a locomotive, how to move between high voltage transmission lines, woodworking tips, etc.. It's a amazing. I thoroughly enjoy Tiktok and don't feel like I've wasted time even after scrolling through it for an hour.

Anyone who willfully signs up for foreign surveillance is simply dumb. There's no other way to put it. That applies (to a lesser extent, but applies all the same) to folks from other countries that sign up for the likes of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or whatever else the US Government can coerce into "intelligence data sharing", and increasingly narrative peddling and censorship. Even if you are liberal, this will to eventually bite you in the ass, and it'll be bad.

So...instead of signing up for foreign surveillance, we should sign up for domestic surveillance?

You are already signed up for US surveillance if you live in the US, and have no choice in the matter. You have a phone, right? Then they know all they need to know about you - your location, contacts, emails, bank accounts, vices and proclivities. I specifically said that people from _other countres_ would be dumb to do so.

I worry about a platform controlled by China influencing so much of the world's conversation. For instance, the CCP could use moderation and algorithms to alter exposure of protests concerning Hong Kong or movements to free Tibet. Alternatively they could amplify the most extreme and divisive political content that destabilizes their adversaries. Whenever a platform grows to be this big, we need to treat it like a government unto itself, because it literally has government-scale influence and power. Platforms at that scale need to be regulated and treated like a public-run service (with transparency, neutrality, and local government control). It is absolutely bizarre to outsource control of society's speech to giant private platforms, especially ones that are under the control of a foreign government with a long track record of coercing its private companies.

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