TikTok, or Douyin as it is known in China, is a fast-growing mobile video app with a global userbase among teen and young adult audiences. The mounting influence of TikTok in youth culture was exemplified by its role in popularising ‘Old Town Road’, a song by Lil Nas X, which topped the US Billboard Hot 100 charts for several weeks in 2019.

Brands are beginning to use TikTok to engage users through native video content, particularly in the form of participatory ‘hashtag challenge’ campaigns. However, numerous controversies have called into question the safety of the environment, both for brands and users.


Known as Douyin in its native China, TikTok launched in 2016 and has enjoyed rapid growth since parent company ByteDance acquired social media platform Music.ly in 2017. ByteDance does not offer public updates about TikTok user numbers – it last revealed the app had 500 million users globally in June 2018. Various sources including Hootsuite and We Are Social have estimated the current figure to be closer to 800 million.