THE BIG READ | What is TikTok and how did it take over the world?

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TikTok is used by an estimated 1,1 billion people daily in more than 150 countries. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
TikTok is used by an estimated 1,1 billion people daily in more than 150 countries. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

It’s a rainy summer morning in London but in my head I’m a competitor at the Tokyo Olympics, watching footage on my phone of 2,1-metre-tall Argentine basketball player Francisco Caffaro trying to squeeze into a Japanese shower cubicle.

I swipe onto a video of British gold medallist Tom Daley, not diving but wobbling his head in time to Olivia Rodrigo’s Deja Vu. Onwards and US volleyball player Erik Shoji is talking me through his teriyaki and rice-ball dinner in the Olympic Village.

It’s just another few seconds on the Chinese-owned micro-video app TikTok, where at any one time 75 million different videos are jostling for attention and which in the space of just three years has come from nowhere to become a – if not the – driving force in western culture.

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