TikTok Use in the UK

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TikTok Use in the UK

Some insights gained into the use of TikTok in the U.K. include the implementation of new safety features, the app's use of its own influencers to promote a message of better use, a current investigation into data usage (bound to change their policies more), organizations such as the British Army using the app, new oversight by regulatory committees, and how TikTok in the U.K. is affecting popular music. Some top trending keywords are user challenges such as the #LipStickChallenge and dangerous trends such as the #PennyChallenge, along with drug references, while other top keywords dealt with sports, comedy, and pets, among others.

New Safety Features

  • This month, TikTok launched Family Safety Mode, a feature to protect children. This system can be used by parents to control how long their children spend on TikTok each day, even limiting or turning off direct messaging and blocking inappropriate content. These changes were put in place to help users "have a healthy relationship" with the app and it's services, as the company stated that safety and the well-being of their customers is of high importance to them.
  • The new parental controls are meant to cover parent's greatest concerns over the app and are first available in the U.K., according to TikTok, with other markets in the following weeks ahead. The parental controls so far however have only been designed with European law in mind.

Using Influencers to Promote Better Use

  • TikTok also recently partnered with some of its top U.K. creators to tell those who are using the app too much, especially children, to get off the app and do something else productive. TikTok celebrities such as Anna Bogomolova with 2.3 million followers, Sherice Banton 1.3 million followers, Matthew Mackinnon and Ryan Payne 1.4 million followers, and even a dog named Charlie with 110,000 followers were all used for this campaign.
  • Although being an app that is known for its short, easy to digest, video clips, TikTok used these influencers to tell users to get some extra sleep, turn off their phones, and even to go outside.

Investigations on Data Usage

  • In the U.K. TikTok is currently being investigated for the way it handles the personal data and safety of users that are underage. Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham told a parliamentary committee the investigation began in February after a $5.7 million fine against TikTok from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for breaking children’s privacy law. How TikTok collects private data, alongside concern about their system of messaging that could allow adults to talk to children, are the main areas of investigation.
  • The investigation will find out if the app, owned by ByteDance, in any way violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), requiring companies to place protections for underage users and providing them with services different from adults. The FTC’s investigation began when TikTok was still known as Musical.ly, and has ruled that the company broke the rules of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by not asking for parental consent before the collection of personal information from users under 13 years of age.

Industries Using TikTok

  • Although the U.S. Army has banned personnel from TikTok after using it to recruit, the British Army has started using Chinese-owned video-sharing app to recruit the younger generation, despite the concerns the app possibly could be used for spying.
  • With the name of BritishArmyHQ, the U.K. Army is using the digital platform to show videos of things such as tanks firing guns and soldiers taking part in training. The Army and the Guards Division both have TikTok accounts, accumulating over 50,000 followers, showcasing soldiers in the field and also answering questions on life in the military.

Oversight of App Usage

  • The government in the U.K. intends to put Ofcomm (a telecoms regulator with a proven track record in overseeing the media and telecommunications industries in the U.K.) in charge of regulating all social media within the country, with the reasoning that this transition would avoid fragmentation of the regulations, and would be much quicker to set up than starting with a new regulator.
  • The company will be given new powers with its widened responsibilities, which include covering any platform that hosts user-generated content, including forums and comments, with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok all their fitting under this new oversight.

TikTok for Music

  • TikTok is having a great impact on popular music, with efforts to target musicians and to give exposure to new talents, such as starting a partnership with Youth Music and the Brit Awards. The partnering with the Brit Awards is possibly the largest investment the app has put into partnering with a music event in order to highlight their influence in the music scene of today.
  • Prior to the start of the show, the app will be live-streaming from the red carpet the arrival of celebrities, artists, and musicians, urging people to sign up and watch on the official Brits channel, and will feature stars like Lewis Capaldi (who aims to be crowned the 'King of TikTok') as they perform.

Popular Keywords

  • The #LipStickChallenge was one of the biggest trends on TikTok and was regularly featured on the discovery page in the U.K. and elsewhere. A dangerous challenge that is trending despite warnings from authorities is the #PennyChallenge. Challenges in general remain popular and growing on the app.
  • Some top trending and recurring hashtags and keywords are #UKComedy, which shows some of the best TikTok skits from the U.K., #UKSports, which promotes sports from the U.K., and more general keywords such as #PetsOfTikTok, which have a constant stream of uploads.
  • In another effort for safe use, the app has banned most drug related hashtags and keywords, although searches for the hashtags that are possibly drug related such as #ket (13.8 million) #mdma (5.1 million) and #pinging (4.3 million) have many millions of views between them.
  • A general list of the top 100 hashtags that receive the most likes and views for TikTok are given from a comprehensive guide are here, and include such keywords as #love, #memes, and #funny.
  • Although not specifically keywords, the U.K.'s top earners on TikTok are listed here, and some of their top influencers in every industry are listed here and here. Some of the most famous TikTok users in Britain can also be found, with their accounts being a good guide for what is influential and popular amongst keywords and trends.

Research Strategy

Specific data on the most popular hashtags and keywords for TikTok in the U.K. could not be uncovered, possibly because this type of collection of data has yet to be accomplished with the recent usage of keywords in the app. Since this data could not be found after searches through their website, industry and market journals, and top user accounts, a list of certain hashtags and keywords that made an impact and went viral on TikTok were instead here presented, with a general list of popular keywords for the global use of TikTok that also pertain to the U.K. Also presented is a few lists of the most influential and top paid celebrities and influencers that can also give an insight into what popular keywords and hashtags are being used.