TikTok Look-Alike Zynn Removed From App Store for Plagiarism

Sara Belcher - Author

Jun. 17 2020, Updated 4:18 p.m. ET

Source: Twitter

The video-sharing app Zynn quickly became the No. 1 app on the Google and Apple app stores, but its success was short-lived. The TikTok look-alike app that paid you to watch videos has officially been removed from the app store.

Zynn had a short lifespan on the app store, launching in early May before it was removed, with both Google and Apple claiming the app violated their guidelines.

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Why was Zynn removed from the app store?

On the surface, Zynn seemed to be simply a better version of TikTok. The app was almost identical to the original video-sharing app, raising some eyebrows from the beginning. But the promise of money for watching the app’s videos and getting friends to sign up made it the more appealing option.

zynn removed app store
Source: Twitter
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Zynn quickly topped the most-downloaded charts, but it wasn’t long before it was criticized, being likened to a “pyramid scheme.” Wired also revealed that the app had many problems with plagiarism, as other content creators had their videos taken from other social media sites and uploaded to Zynn without their permission.

These reasons were why the app was removed from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, citing that the app was not in compliance with either company’s regulations.

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“We understand this happened due to complaints raised on user-uploaded videos,” Zynn’s spokesperson told Verge of the plagiarism issue. “This is an isolated incident that has triggered a routine investigation from Google’s platform. Upon receiving the notice, we immediately removed the problematic video and blocked the user from uploading any additional videos before providing further proof of copyright.” 

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Some influencers found their content had been uploaded to the app even prior to its May launch, with some stolen videos being uploaded as far back as February. Wired reports some TikTok and Instagram influencers found accounts on the app impersonating them, using their same usernames and profile photos.

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When asked about this, a spokesperson for the company told Wired that Zynn "kicked off a soft launch period in February. Early adopters and video creators have been producing content and testing our product since then, so there were some videos on the app before our official launch."

Will Zynn return to the app store?

The company claims that they are “in communications with Google and working to fix this ASAP,” according to Wired, though it’s currently unclear whether or not the app will return to either app store.

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zynn app
Source: Twitter

Zynn was created by the development company Owlii, which is owned by Chinese tech giant Kuaishou. The tech company’s largest competitor is ByteDance — the company that owns TikTok, potentially explaining the app’s apparent goal to become a better TikTok.

Despite all of this, Zynn’s developers don’t seem worried about the allegations against the app, and claims the problems are rooted in the app’s rapid success.

“This [plagiarism issue] came about as Zynn is gaining popularity in the US and many users are uploading content and building their own communities,” said the spokesperson to Verge. “Zynn has always been an ardent supporter of original content. Zynn respects and requires creators to abide by local copyright laws. Zynn provides users with a one-click complaint feature to protect creators’ rights.”

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