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When Did TikTok Come Out? Tracing the Origins and Rise of the Social Media Phenomenon

  • Gavin Smith
  • May 16, 2024
  • 0
Leading Digital Agency Since 2001.
when did tiktok come out

When Did TikTok Come Out? Tracing the Origins and Rise of the Social Media Phenomenon

The question on many people’s minds is, “when did TikTok come out?” TikTok, the short-form video sharing app that has taken the world by storm, has become a cultural phenomenon and a dominant force in the social media landscape. Its rise to popularity has been nothing short of remarkable, captivating users of all ages and backgrounds. In this article, we’ll trace the origins of TikTok, explore its evolution, and delve into the factors that contributed to its massive success.

TikTok’s journey began in September 2016 when Chinese tech company ByteDance launched a short-form video app called Douyin in China. The app quickly gained traction, allowing users to create and share 15-second videos set to music or soundtracks. In September 2017, ByteDance launched the international version of Douyin, rebranded as TikTok, for markets outside of China.

when did tiktok come out

The Merger with

A significant milestone in TikTok’s history occurred in November 2017 when ByteDance acquired, a similar short-form video app that had gained popularity in the United States and other Western markets. had a strong user base, particularly among younger demographics, and featured lip-syncing and dancing videos set to popular songs.

In August 2018, ByteDance made the strategic decision to merge TikTok and, consolidating the user bases and features of both apps under the TikTok brand. This merger proved to be a turning point, as it combined TikTok’s advanced algorithm and editing tools with’s established community and content creation features.

Global Expansion and Viral Growth

Following the merger, TikTok experienced explosive growth and rapidly expanded its global presence. The app’s unique algorithm, which recommends personalized content based on user interactions and preferences, played a significant role in its success. TikTok’s “For You” page became a hub for discovering new trends, challenges, and creators, keeping users engaged and coming back for more.

TikTok’s popularity surged in 2019, with the app being downloaded over 738 million times globally that year alone. It became the most downloaded app in the United States in 2018 and 2019, surpassing social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. TikTok’s success can be attributed to its ability to create a sense of community, encourage user participation, and provide a platform for creative expression.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further accelerated TikTok’s growth and solidified its position as a global phenomenon. As people worldwide faced lockdowns and social distancing measures, TikTok became a source of entertainment, connection, and escapism. Users turned to the app to create and consume lighthearted, humorous, and engaging content, finding solace and joy during challenging times.

During the pandemic, TikTok saw a surge in user-generated content, with challenges, dance routines, and trends spreading like wildfire. The app’s collaborative nature and ease of use made it accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, fostering a sense of unity and shared experience.

Controversies and Challenges

Despite its immense popularity, TikTok has faced its fair share of controversies and challenges. Concerns over data privacy, security, and the app’s ties to the Chinese government have led to scrutiny and even bans in certain countries. In 2020, TikTok faced a potential ban in the United States due to national security concerns, which was later averted through a proposed partnership with American companies.

TikTok has also faced criticism over content moderation, algorithmic bias, and the spread of misinformation on the platform. The company has taken steps to address these issues, implementing stricter content guidelines, fact-checking measures, and transparency initiatives to maintain a safe and trustworthy environment for its users.


Since its launch in 2016 and subsequent rebranding and merger, TikTok has become a global phenomenon, captivating millions of users worldwide. Its unique blend of short-form video content, personalized recommendations, and collaborative features has propelled it to the forefront of the social media landscape. Despite facing challenges and controversies, TikTok continues to evolve and adapt, shaping popular culture and redefining the way we create and consume content. As TikTok continues to grow and innovate, it remains a force to be reckoned with in the ever-changing world of social media.

when did tiktok come out