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About TikTok


In its brief history, TikTok has become a cultural phenomenon like no other. The app known today as TikTok was born out of two distinct apps. was launched in 2014 in Shanghai and had a large American market. The app allowed users to create videos by singing along or lip-synching to popular sounds and songs. In 2016, Chinese company ByteDance started Douyin, which was essentially the same app with larger audiences in China and Thailand. Realizing the power and global excitement around this kind of app, ByteDance decided to buy in 2018. Folding the apps together, TikTok was born.

What sets TikTok apart from other social media sites and apps is its algorithm. It recognizes what users like at rates far faster than its competitors, making it ever evolving not simply for a collective audience, but for each individual user. In July of 2019, TikTok already achieved one billion downloads worldwide, and a year later that number doubled. In 2020, the American company Oracle purchased a 12.5 percent stake in TikTok, creating a new division of the company called TikTok Global. Now, operations behind what American users see on TikTok are provided and run by TikTok Global.

TikTok’s platform has evolved into much more than a lip-synching app. Communities of all kinds have emerged within the millions of users. By using hashtags, creators can push their content for viewers who they know are looking for it, connecting users in a way other apps haven’t been able to. TikTok listens to its creators and users, taking suggestions and feedback and implementing improvements and new ideas quickly. In early 2021, many users in the hard of hearing community called out the app for its lack of accessibility to hard of hearing people. TikTok listened, and introduced auto captions in April 2021. The captions generate as a user creates the video, and users can edit the captions before posting. This investment in accessibility is incredibly important, and an example of how TikTok is pushing against societal norms and moving fast into the future.


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Culver City, CA 90230

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Public
CEO: Zhang Yiming
COO: Vanessa Pappas

Major Office Locations

Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY