TikTok: what it is and how it works

TikTok is the social of the moment. Known and initially used only by teenagers, the app for making videos with lip sync has gradually conquered even the adult audience: many influencers and TV personalities from Instagram have migrated to TikTok (even Matteo Salvini has opened a profile) making it always become most popular.

If you have wondered what TikTok is and how it works , it’s because you too, hearing about it and seeing the videos shared by the stars on Instagram, will be curious to try it and learn how to use it. Likewise, parents of teenagers want to learn more about safety and privacy protection.

To answer all the questions we have created a detailed guide on TikTok: how to use it , how to make videos with effects, how to add music filters, and useful information on the degree of privacy and security . Below you will find instructions for getting started on the platform and sharing fun clips in lip sync.

Why join TikTok?

TikTok is a social media app that allows you to create comic sketches or sing in lip-sync (video where you move your mouth in sync with a song or a scene from a movie). The app is currently available in 34 languages ​​and has over 150 million active users .

It used to be called Musical.ly , but the platform closed its doors in August 2018 and forced its users to migrate to the new TikTok. Basically TikTok is the former Musical.ly , and at first glance it might remember Dubsmash (the very popular app a few years ago that allowed you to make short clips in lip sync), but it goes further. In fact, in addition to lip sync videos on TikTok you can add special effects (such as changing clothes , very popular among influencers), create musicals, dance, act, make duets, presentations and many types of short videos. The photos and videos made on TikTok can be saved on the phone and shared on other social networks, such as Instagram, both as posts and as Stories.

TikTok likes it because it stimulates talent and creativity, and is perfect for those who are fed up with Facebook and Instagram and looking for entertainment from a social network.

The fact that the social network has hundreds of millions of subscribers , then, gives the possibility to become very popular and build a following of millions of followers.

Using TikTok: how it works

Before seeing in detail how to subscribe to TikTok and how it works, we specify that everything that was on Musical.ly today is on TikTok, which is why those who signed up to the app before the rebranding can continue to access TikTok with the same account.

The first thing to do is download the app on your phone. TikTok is available for free on the App Store and Google Play Store , and is represented by a musical note icon with neon colors on a black background. Once the app is installed, just open it to immediately see the videos being played uploaded by other users, and you can choose between “Followed” and those recommended “For you”. You will not be able to share a video until you have created your account .

How to create an account

To make videos and use all the features of TikTok you need to sign up or log in with your account if you already have one.

To create an account you need to enter your email or phone number , or choose to log up via Facebook, Twitter, Google or Instagram account. This option is certainly more convenient and faster, but for greater security it is better not to associate two accounts and create a TikTok account from scratch. To continue, enter your date of birth . The age limit for using TikTok is 13 years.

At this point you can set up your profile page, which is very similar to that of Instagram: there is a round profile photo and the feed of the uploaded videos, and the icon at the top right for the Settings (account management , privacy , notifications, help center …). We also find the number of followers, fans and hearts .

Your feed highlights what’s happening in your community, and videos tailored to you, selected based on your tastes and interests, are shown in the For You feed. There is also a “digital wellbeing” icon that alerts users who have used the app for more than 2 hours.

How to make and upload videos with effects

At this point we move on to the most interesting part: the creation of the videos. Making a video on TikTok is very simple: just press the central button with the [+] symbol , press Allow access to the camera and microphone and confirm with OK .

When the camera is opened we can choose the recording mode between normal and selfie , just like on Instagram Stories.

Note: in addition to creating a video from scratch directly from the TikTok Camera, you can upload an existing video or photo to your phone and then edit it as you wish. To do this, press the icon at the bottom right next to the red button. You can see that it shows a photo of your roll in preview: click and then choose whether to upload a video or a photo (or even more than one, in multiple mode ).

Add a Sound: from here you can choose the music of your video. You have playlists divided by category (ex: Sanremo 2019, Global Hits, Popular, Viral …) but you can directly choose the song to add by typing title or artist on the Search bar . Once you have found the desired song, click on the check mark that appears on the right.

Once the background music is inserted, from the camera screen you can cut the sound at any point in the video. Just press the musical note icon with the x that appears in the list of symbols on the right.

The playback speed can be changed: the music, and therefore the lip sync, will go faster or slower according to the selected key (1x is normal, while 2x, 3x is faster). To record the video press the central red button .

Add effects and filters : to insert the effects press the icon of the three colored circles. To activate and deactivate the beauty effect, press the magic wand icon. You can record both in normal and selfie mode : the key to do this is the camera button at the top right. To add moving lettering, filters, stickers , 3D effects, glasses, ears, animal faces etc. you have to press the Vlog 123 button located at the bottom left next to the red button. Once finished, click Next.

To make a video without holding down the record button you have to use the timer function . Press the clock icon with the number 3 and then click Start countdown . Once activated, the video will start recording automatically after a few seconds.

If you don’t like the uploaded video you can delete it and make a new one. To delete a video from TikTok open it and press the three dots icon on the right, scroll to the carousel that appears below and press Delete . Always come on you can activate features such as duet , video download, bookmark, comment and live photo.

Is TikTok safe?

As we said above, in TikTok’s privacy terms it is clear that you must be at least 13 years old to use the app, although this limit can clearly be circumvented by entering a false date of birth.

By default, all accounts are public , so anyone – even non-subscribers – can see what users are sharing. However, only approved followers can send the private messages.

Users can like or react to a video, follow an account or send messages to each other. There is a risk that strangers may contact kids directly on the app, who may be tempted to accept requests in order to get an extra follower or Like .

Among the settings dedicated to privacy we find the possibility to activate the mode to filter inappropriate content; the Off / Friends mode to be able to send messages only if you follow each other; setting up a private account so that all videos can only be seen by the creator and accepted followers. With a private account, you can approve or deny user requests and limit incoming messages to followers only. Note that even with a private account, your profile photo, username and bio are visible to everyone.