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As soon as TikTok gets in trouble (which happens often), the search for the Next Big Thing intensifies. Recently, Vine’s successor Byte is getting some press off TikTok’s ban in India and potential ban in the US. Currently, it’s the only notable video-only social media network that isn’t TikTok. But, is it actually a viable competitor?
To get you up to speed, here’s a recent history lesson on TikTok and Byte.
The confusing world of Vine, Byte, Musical.ly and TikTok
It all started with Vine.
Twitter’s video-only app was released in 2013, allowing users to upload six-second long square videos that would loop infinitely. It quickly became massively successful and shaped the online world for years to come, kickstarting careers of content powerhouses like Jake and Logan Paul or Lele Pons. Many popular YouTubers started on Vine too: Cody Ko, Danny Gonzalez, Drew Gooden or Kurtis Conner. Most importantly, it became a pop culture phenomenon, with Vine compilations amassing millions of views on YouTube long after the app shut down in 2016.
The mobile-first video-shaped hole left by Vine was eventually filled by TikTok after its rebrand from Musical.ly. Starting out as a lip-syncing app for teens released in 2014, it was acquired by ByteDance (confusingly not affiliated with Byte) and transformed into the TikTok we know today. It allows users to create videos up to 60 seconds long, choosing from a library of Apple Music songs or sounds uploaded by users. It has pretty powerful editing capabilities, with constant updates, high-tech filters and user-friendly UI. You can search the app by hashtags or sounds, which often become trends in their own right. TikTok has had a fair share of controversies from the get-go, but it has seen spectacular growth this year.
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