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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

Why are we all obsessed with Tik Tok? How did this happen? Having never fallen into the trap of Vine or Musical.ly, I guess I was surprised to find myself completely addicted to the viral lip-sync videos found on the Tik Tok app. From the short clips of adorable pets to humorous relatable videos, Tik Tok has taken over my life. 

Tik Tok began as the app Musical.ly, founded by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang in 2014. However, in 2018 the Chinese company ByteDance acquired Musical.ly and merged it into the popular app Tik Tok that so many of us are familiar with today. Business Insider reports that the app has been more popular than competitor social media platforms, boasting an incredible 1.2 billion downloads since its launch. 

Tik Tok is transforming the video industry by creating instant stardom for many of its creators. Many youth who create silly videos awake the next day to find they have amassed millions of views and “likes.” I am occasionally shocked to find myself watching a viral video of a schoolmate who lives halfway across the country. Furthermore, the app has resulted in the birth of numerous trends, including “e-girls/e-boys,” “The Whoah,” and “Renegade.” 

However, despite Gen Z’s fascination with this new time-sucking creative outlet, many are concerned about potential safety and security risks associated with the app. Parents disapprove of the mature content which can be easily accessed on this app, including lewd videos and controversial lyrics. According to Tik Tok’s demographics, a startling 41% of its users are between the ages of 16 and 24. 

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Defense has recently issued a warning regarding the possible mishandling of personal information gathered by Tik Tok. Lawmakers and government employees have been instructed to be suspicious of the software which is operated by ByteDance, a Chinese company. The Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States has also launched an investigation into the company, citing that they never approved of the acquisition of Musical.ly by ByteDance.

Despite security concerns, Tik Tok continues to soar on the download charts. Endorsed by major American celebrities like Cardi B, Ariana Grande, and the Jonas Brothers, it is unlikely that we will be saying good-bye anytime soon. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to “do a bad thing” and hop on the Tik Tok bandwagon! 

Claire Lempert

Columbia Barnard '23

is a sophomore at Barnard studying economics, psychology, and English. She loves exploring NYC, running, writing, and creating dioramas.