Despite concerns, India loves TikTok

We contributed one-third of the app's 1.5 billion downloads globally. Parent country China trails behind us

A new entrant in the densely populated world of social media apps, TikTok recently crossed 1.5 billion downloads worldwide and is now the third-most downloaded non-gaming app globally. India leads the chart with 466.8 million unique installs of the Chinese short video creation app.

The app is immensely popular with school kids and young adults, with many seeing it as a ticket to instant fame. Contrary to other apps, which promote social connections, friendships or opinion sharing, TikTok is all about winning fans and grabbing a share of the spotlight with 15-second videos.

The frenzy surrounding this app is only matched by the criticism and controversy around it. There have been multiple instances of people losing their lives while attempting stunts for TikTok videos.

There have been concerns about it promoting violence and child pornography, cultural and moral degradation, exposing children to sexual predators, causing a problem of addiction among users, compromising national security and personal safety and so on.

In July, TikTok banned three of its most popular creators (all of them Muslim) for posting videos in which they condemned the lynching of a Muslim man by a Hindu mob. In April, the Madras HC banned TikTok from app stores after petitioners said it wasn’t safe for kids. The ban was lifted a few weeks later. Last week, Heena Darvesh, a mother of three minor children, filed a PIL in the Bombay HC, seeking a ban on the app.

Despite all the negative press, the app continues to enjoy huge patronage in the country. Experts from different fields give various reasons for the app’s popularity in India. Demography is one — half of the country’s huge population comes in the category of ‘young adult’. Cheap internet and growing smartphone penetration is another reason.

Also, a majority of TikTok’s ardent supporters come from rural areas and belong to the lower or middle-income groups. They might not be able to strike a claim to
fame with stunning
Instagram pictures or lengthy tweets; for first-time Internet users, video is the easiest medium.

Movie, TV celebs on TikTok

Aashika Bhatia
(@aashikabhatia)
12 million followers

Popular for playing young Meera in the serial with the same name and ‘Parvarrish – Kuchh Khattee Kuchh Meethi’. She was also seen playing the role of Salman Khan’s sister in the film ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo’. She posts videos of her acting and dancing.

Riteish Deshmukh
(@riteishd)
6.1 million followers

Just like in his films, the actor shows his comic timing in the videos he posts. He has about 30 videos till now.

Sunny Leone
(@sunnyleone)
1.4 million followers 

She treats her followers to videos of her dancing to popular songs or acting out iconic dialogues from movies. She also promotes her cosmetic brand through the platform.

Madhuri Dixit Nene
(@madhuridixitnene)
920.4 K followers

A fairly new name in the TikTok world, she joined the video sharing-platform on November 10. She has posted only two videos till now.

Avneet Kaur
(@avneetkaur_13)
17.2 million followers

She is a television actor, popular for her stint in serials like ‘Dance India Dance Li’l Masters’, ‘Chandra Nandini’ and ‘Aladdin - Naam Toh Suna Hoga’. She usually posts dance videos.

Disha Patani
(@dishapatani)
3 million followers

She is among the few young Bollywood stars who make extensive use of the app. She usually shows off her dancing skills on the app.

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