How does TikTok work? Learn how to use the video application

TikTok is a popular short video app available for Android and iPhone (iOS). A phenomenon especially among young people, it was the most downloaded app in the world in 2020. In this social network of the moment, you can view, like, comment, create, and share videos. In addition, you can follow and interact with other users by sending private messages or editing clips with stitching and duet functions.

In the list below, Techidence answers five questions and answers about TikTok. Check out how to use the social network, how the “For You” tab’s video recommendation algorithm works, and how TikTok content creators make money from the social network.

1. How do I use TikTok?


TikTok is a short video social network that allows you to share fun clips between 15 and 60 seconds long. The app is especially popular among young people, who use the social network to follow profiles, share and post videos and interact with other users.

The app also brings interesting editing features. Tools such as “Stitching”, which allows clips to be spliced together to modify the ending of the original video, and “Duets”, in which users can interact with already recorded videos, are among the most used functions. To use TikTok, simply create clips and start interacting with other users through the social network.

2. How does the For You algorithm work?

TikTok FYP

The “For You” (or FYP) tab suggests clips based on users’ preferences. To do this, the platform uses data that takes into account your interactions with the content, such as your likes and comments posted on the videos.

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In addition, the clip recommendation process on FYP is also based on other information, such as the topics of interest that the user chooses when creating the profile on the platform, for example. The captions of the posts are also considered, as well as the hashtags chosen when posting a video. The content created by the user on TikTok is also taken into account by the network algorithm.

The user’s language, as well as his or her parental settings and the model of his or her cell phone, can also influence the choice of suggested content. TikTok can also recommend clips by linking interest between accounts – that is, creating a video recommendation network that crosses information from users with similar tastes. In this way, it can suggest more relevant content that may be even more attractive to the viewer.

3. Who created TikTok?

TikTok belongs to the Chinese company ByteDance, which originally launched the Douyin app in 2016. As early as 2017, the company decided to expand its business by globally launching the international version of Douyin – that is, TikTok. The following year, the startup announced the purchase of another Chinese short video app, Because of this, later in 2018, ByteDance merged TikTok with the newly acquired app.

Currently, ByteDance is valued at over $140 billion. Created in 2012 by software engineer Yiming Zhan, the startup is the second most valuable company in the world. TikTok, its most successful app, has been downloaded more than 315 million times and has about 100 million active users per month.

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4. How do Tiktokers make money?

Through the app, users who produce content and have a large number of followers (so-called Tiktokers) earn money mainly through sponsorships, sales of their products, affiliate marketing, and also from the gifts they receive during the live streams on the platform. In addition, in June 2020 TikTok launched the Creator Fund, which is a fund to reward content creators who engage with the video app.

Charli D'Amelio

The fund, however, is only available in the United States and has already been the subject of controversy. Content creators have even claimed that the reach of their clips dropped after joining the fund, and some of them have accused TikTok of creating this reduction to moderate the pay per video. Despite this, famous Tiktokers, such as dancer Charli D’Amelio, can still earn up to $440,000 per publication from the fund.

In addition, it is also possible to profit from the campaigns offered by TikTok. With TikBonus, for example, regular users of the social network can earn money by watching videos and referring new users to the network.

5. What are the competitors?

TikTok’s main competitors are the video apps Kwai and Triller. They also allow you to edit and share clips up to 60 seconds long on their platforms, with different filter and audio options for the creations. Kwai, like TikTok, also gives out cash rewards to users who complete missions and watch videos on the platform.

In addition to these, Instagram’s Reels feature has also arrived to compete with the app. This is because the tool also allows users to post short videos with different images and sound effects.

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