What is TikTok?
The short form video sharing app has ties to the Chinese government
TikTok is an entertainment app that lets users create mobile videos that range from six to 15 seconds long.
Users can also create four 15-second long videos and stitch them together to create a minute-long compilation.
"TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy," the app's website reads.
The app, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times and has an estimated 800 million users, is largely popular among young people, especially women. About 60 percent of TikTok users are between the ages of 16-24, and about 60 percent are women, according to data from social media advertising site Wallaroo Media.
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Users can edit videos to cut from one scene to another, add filters and music, save drafts, start recording from a countdown so they do not have to hold a record button, create duets and more, according to the TikTok website.
Chinese tech giant ByteDance launched TikTok on Apple devices in 2017 after the popular, U.S.-based, six-second video app Vine shut down in 2016 after it struggled to expand its user base and make money.
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TikTok has faced increasing safety concerns. The U.S. is especially skeptical of the app because of its ties to the Chinese government and reports that terrorists had been posting propaganda videos on their TikTok profiles. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) called the video app "China's best detective."
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) explained why lawmakers are worried about the app.
"Here's the problem: it's owned by a Chinese company, and under Chinese law, that means the Communist Party has access to all of the data that TikTok scoops up," Hawley said in December. "And it scoops up a lot, like your phone book, like what you do on your phone, it tracks you around the web, maybe your text messages. It's dangerous."
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ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, has tried to minimize attention on its China connections after lawmakers of both parties asked the intelligence community to examine the national security risks. The company released a TikTok "transparency report" on Dec. 30.
"The Chinese government has never asked us to provide access to any TikTok U.S. user data, and we would not do so if asked," a ByteDance spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.
TikTok has global offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul and Tokyo, according to its website.
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This report contains material from a previous FOX Business article.