Zynn App: The TikTok App Copycat That Pays Users

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June 3, 2020

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What is the Zynn app?

  • A free Chinese-owned video app where users watch and create content
  • It’s extremely similar to TikTok
  • The main difference is Zynn claims to pay its users for watching content and referring friends
  • The app boasts a “massive” music library, cool stickers, and funny effects
  • Videos can be shared to Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
  • You don’t need an account to watch videos, but you do need an account to make a profile and earn rewards/money
  • Users can “like” and comment on videos and follow (or block) other users

Why should parents care?

  • There are concerns over how the app protects a user’s privacy and data
  • There are NO content filters available on Zynn
  • Since all content is user generated, videos range from cute animals and cooking to explicit song lyrics, partial nudity, and dangerous stunts
  • There is NO way to make a Zynn account private
  • Anything your student posts on Zynn is public
  • Users can follow other users and block individual users
  • The incentive to earn money on Zynn could lead to addictive behavior

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
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This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

NOTE: Zynn was removed from both Google Play and the iOS App Store in June of 2020 after widespread reports of plagiarism

If you know what TikTok is, you already know how Zynn works. The main difference of the new copycat video app is Zynn pays its users. Also, it doesn’t offer any content filters or privacy settings. So while many Zynn videos are harmless, there are some serious concerns about what kids see and share on the app.

This Zynn app guide for parents, students, and educators explains how the new app works and offers tips to help keep teens safe while using it.

Parent & educator training video

Zynn in the news

The Verge headline: A new TikTok clone hit the top of the App Store by paying users to watch videos
TikTok has a new competitor: Zynn, a nearly button-for-button clone of TikTok that differentiates itself with one key twist — it pays users to sign up, watch videos, and convince others to follow suit. The Verge
Wired headline: Zynn, the hot new video app, is full of stolen content. Multiple influencers told WIRED that their videos had been copied from other platforms and reposted to Zynn without permission
Zynn is filled with videos that appear to be stolen from creators on other social media platforms, including TikTok celebrities with massive followings... Four influencers who spoke to WIRED said videos they originally published to TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube were uploaded to Zynn without their consent, under accounts they didn’t open. WIRED

What is the Zynn app?

Zynn App Video Feed snapshot
  • A free Chinese-owned video app where users watch and create content
  • It’s extremely similar to TikTok
  • The main difference is Zynn claims to pay its users for watching content and referring friends
  • The app boasts a “massive” music library, cool stickers, and funny effects
  • Videos can be shared to Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
  • You don’t need an account to watch videos, but you do need an account to make a profile and earn rewards/money
  • Users can “like” and comment on videos and follow (or block) other users

Where is Zynn available?

Who can use Zynn?

  • All new users must sign up with:
  • A phone number
  • Facebook account
  • or Google account
  • The app’s Community Guidelines state: 
  • Zynn is only for users ages 13+ 
  • The company won’t provide access to the account or information about the account to anyone other than the account holder 
  • Parents and guardians of account holders “are responsible for educating your child on internet safety”

How is money earned on the Zynn app?

Zynn App Rewards snapshot
  • As users scroll through the video feed, they accumulate points (each hour watched equals about $1.20) 
  • Users also get up to $20 for every friend they refer and a bonus $10 for every fifth friend
  • To qualify for the referral money, new users must download Zynn, sign up, and continually use the app
  • Referral earnings can be transferred to PayPal or cashed in for gift cards to the Apple App Store, Walmart, Amazon, etc.
  • The app launched in May 2020 and already had glitches with its withdrawal feature
  • An in-app message says Zynn is currently only redeeming rewards for gift cards, but plans to resume PayPal cash withdrawals on June 7, 2020

Zynn app in the news

Social Media Today headline: The rise of new short-form video app Zynn could spell trouble for TikTok
Zynn is seemingly being funded by Kuaishou… a key rival for… TikTok's parent company ByteDance. That, potentially, makes Zynn a much bigger concern for TikTok - but it could also make both Zynn and TikTok much bigger targets for western regulators, many of whom were already highly concerned about a Chinese organization, in ByteDance, making a push into western markets, and gathering data on non-Chinese citizens. Social Media Today
Forbes headline: Zynn, a new TikTok copycat, pays users-but it's origins are more interesting
As teenagers unsuspectedly dance in their bedrooms and accumulate points for watching videos, international espionage, surveillance development, and cyberwarfare plays out in real-time. If there was ever an acute technological catalyst for the acceleration of US-China conflict, this is it. Forbes
The Verge: Google removes TikTok clone Zynn from Play Store after reports of plagiarism
Chinese video app Zynn, a clone of the hugely popular Chinese video app TikTok, has been removed from Google’s Play Store following accusations of plagiarism... Some say their accounts have been cloned entirely, with profiles appearing on Zynn, including their name, picture, and months of back-dated content. In some cases, these videos appear to have been uploaded to Zynn before the app even officially launched in the US. The Verge
Mashable headline: This TikTok clone is number on on the App Store. But is it all smoke and mirrors?
Zynn seems to be a pyramid referral scheme. Even the options presented when you’re ready to withdraw your ‘Zynn earnings’ appear to purposefully make it difficult to take your money and walk away. Mashable

Why should parents care?

Zynn App Video screenshot
  • There are concerns over how the app protects a user’s privacy and data
  • There are NO content filters available on Zynn
  • Since all content is user generated, videos range from cute animals and cooking to explicit song lyrics, partial nudity, and dangerous stunts
  • There is NO way to make a Zynn account private
  • Anything your student posts on Zynn is public
  • Users can follow other users and block individual users
  • The incentive to earn money on Zynn could lead to addictive behavior

What can parents do?

Zynn App Video Challenge screenshot
  • Download Zynn, spend some time using it, then determine if it’s safe for your family to use
  • If your student uses Zynn, ask for their username
  • Teach your students to come talk to you, or a trusted adult, if they are ever contacted by a stranger or ever feel uncomfortable on Zynn 
  • Teach them to never share personal info in videos or comments
  • Remind your student that their online activity, even under a fake username, can impact their reputation and their future
  • Teach your students the dangers of participating in viral video challenges or doing anything dangerous for social media attention
  • Teach students they can block individual users and mark inappropriate videos as “not interested”

Conclusion

Many students strive for “likes” and virtual approval on apps like Zynn and TikTok. This could encourage kids to do things they wouldn't normally do. It’s important for parents and guardians to encourage safe and smart behavior and set limits on the type of information your student shares.


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Zynn App: The TikTok App Copycat That Pays Users

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