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CES 2021: TikTok 'democratizing' entertainment landscape, exec says

Though TikTok Inc. has received much attention for its recent legal squabbles with the U.S. government, one company executive and a celebrity on the video-sharing app said the platform's approach toward promoting user-generated content boosts its staying power.

Speaking during a Jan. 12 panel at CES, the Consumer Technology Association's annual technology and media trade show, TikTok Head of Global Marketing Nick Tran and Addison Rae, a social media personality with close to 75 million followers on TikTok, said the site's abundance of real-time video content and appeal to younger users sets it apart from competitors.

For instance, Rae noted that Facebook Inc.'s photo-sharing app Instagram LLC and Google LLC-owned YouTube LLC are "very postured" and "fine-tuned," whereas TikTok is more "organic" and provides opportunities "for people to be themselves."

"A blooper or fail or awkward moment will do even better than an initial planned video," Rae said at the Jan. 12 event. "That's what the main appeal [of TikTok] has been for so many people."

Tran added that TikTok's abundance of available topics, from personal finance to cooking tips, and the platform's focus on pop culture trends, also boost the platform's competitive position.

"We're democratizing entertainment," Tran said.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd., has received much criticism from the Trump administration and several top lawmakers, who claim the app shares data collected from American users with the Chinese government. TikTok has denied that claim.

Other coverage from CES:

CES 2021: Survey predicts consumer tech spending will spike to $461B in 2021

CES 2021: TV makers turn to 8K, super-sized panels

CES 2021: Samsung unveils new AI-enabled smart home products