Washington- Known for its short-form videos popular with teens, TikTok has become a global social media sensation, and at the same time has found itself at the heart of a geopolitical war between the United States and China. US President Donald Trump has called the app a national security risk, claiming that TikTok and its Chinese parent ByteDance could access user data and deliver it to Chinese intelligence services. Trump’s executive order would prohibit new downloads of TikTok from Sunday night and would ban usage from November 12 unless a deal to restructure its ownership comes to fruition.

700 million users 

TikTok has seen some two billion downloads and its user base is estimated at 700 million, making it one of the biggest players in the social media space.

It is known for its user-generated short videos of 15 to 60 seconds, many featuring dancing, parodies or comments on the news. Filters and special effects can be added.

The coronavirus pandemic has helped TikTok expand its user base beyond young smartphone users, as new kinds of content are added and popular “influencers” join the platform.

Created in 2016 as Muscal.ly, the app was acquired by ByteDance in 2017 and rebranded as the global version of the Chinese app known as Douyin.

According to the company, TikTok has 100 million users in the United States alone, with 50 million logging on every day. Before July, when reports of a ban began to circulate, TikTok was adding some 400,000 US users every day.