If you have been watching the news, you may have heard that the Trump administration is threatening to ban TikTok in the United States as part of sanctions on China.
But what would this actually mean for TikTok users, and what can we use instead if we do find that TikTok is no longer available in our area?
Read on for everything you need to know about TikTok and the potential ban, as well as a list of five other apps that can provide the same kind of entertainment and stimuli as TikTok, one of which could be the next big thing.
What Is TikTok?
For anyone who is only hearing about it now in the midst of all the controversy, TikTok is a fairly new social media app, much like Instagram, specifically for short-form videos.
Users can create and share 60-second videos on any subject. There is a huge range of filters, templates, and animations available for users to add special effects. You can also comment on other people’s videos, share, and so forth, just like any other social media platform.
TikTok is also now the most popular social media platform, having surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in terms of monthly installs.
While there are lots of videos available on TikTok, the most popular are lip-synching, dancing, challenge videos in which a number of people try to do the same thing in different ways, and cringe videos, which are just downright embarrassing.
Just like most social media platforms, there are native apps for TikTok, or you can access TikTok online. You can browse most content without logging in or creating an account. But if you want to post content, comment, or watch live videos, you do need an account.
You can sign up with your phone number or email, or using an existing account such as Google, Facebook, or Instagram, which will also import personal details.
If you want to know how to install TikTok on your Android TV Box, read our guide.
What Is The Controversy With TikTok?
The Trump administration is looking at banning TikTok in the US, along with WeChat, as Chinese-owned social media companies, suggesting they represent a national security risk with the data that is gathered. The move is also part of an ongoing trade war with China.
If the ban were to be confirmed, what it would actually mean is a ban on all transactions between US entities and TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance. If this comes to pass, companies such as Google and Apple will need to stop offering the TikTok app in their stores, though existing users may be able to continue using the app. It is unclear.
Whether the ban will go ahead, or if TikTok will be able to get around this by selling its US assets and making a “US TikTok,” is entirely uncertain.
12 Alternatives To TikTok
With TikTok’s position having become precarious, it is only natural that we start looking at alternatives for watching and sharing this kind of content. Here are five apps that are worth checking out, all of which you can download directly onto your Android TV box.
Instagram might feel like old news since it was the photo and video-sharing platform that was popular before TikTok and can feel a little static in its format. But Instagram is coming up with lots of great new formats in order to be competitive.
The best is Instagram Reels, which offers a lot of the same editing options for creating videos as TikTok, including cool transitions and special effects.
Known for its “disappearing” stories, Snapchat offers a unique way to share short-lived images and videos with your followers. It also has fun filters and features like Bitmoji.
YouTube’s answer to the short-video trend, where you can both watch and create engaging, vertical short-form videos. It’s integrated with the larger YouTube ecosystem.
Created by one of the co-founders of Vine, Byte is a platform for creating and sharing looping videos, similar to the format that made Vine famous.
This app focuses on creating short music videos and video collages. It’s great for music enthusiasts and those who want to add a soundtrack to their content.
Vigo Video (formerly Flipagram)
Vigo Video allows users to create and share short video clips set to music. It’s a great platform for sharing your creativity.
An Indian short video app that shares similarities with TikTok. It’s a vibrant platform with a growing community of content creators.
If you enjoy creating collaborative content with friends, Rizzle is the platform for you. It’s designed for short video series and storytelling.
The Triller app focuses on letting you create professional-looking music videos quickly and without a load of technical skill. It is also focused on finding new talent, which is one of the things we love about TikTok. With 23 million users already, Triller is quickly becoming the next hot thing.
If what you love most about TikTok is the filters that you can play with to make your own films, Likee has more options than you are likely to find anywhere else. The only downside with the app is that it has a built-in time limit, after which you need to take a break, but that can be a good thing.
Ideal for fans of TikTok’s lip-synching challenges, this app also lets you record yourself mouthing along to some of the best audio tracks on the net, and see how others are doing it.
Called the Indian answer to TikTok, it copies just enough of TikTok that it feels familiar and easy to use, but you can do lots of extra things such as see news headlines and even play games. More popular in India than in other parts of the world at the moment, its monetization options are sure to be interesting to many users.
If you are looking for other great apps for your Android TV box, check out our list of the best apps for Android TV here.
With the future of TikTok unclear, it is worth checking out some alternative apps for creating, sharing, and watching videos that look professional thanks to the smart filters, tools, and more that apps can provide.
We’ve come up with a list of our top five. What would you recommend? Share your favorites in the comments section below.