Earlier, TikTok users reported a sudden outage which made the video-sharing platform unusable for those in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Australia. Among the issues noted were problems logging in, uploading content, and viewing videos. The complaints were recorded by DownDetector which apparently began around 1:06 p.m. on Sept. 12. It seems to be limited to certain regions, while some were able to use it normally. However, there was reportedly a strange bug that people found alarming.

Those who attempted to access their accounts were met with a message that told them to "update their username." While some found it odd and worried it might be possibly caused by malware in an attempt to steal their information, others followed the instructions. Upon completion, the error persisted and left them locked out of the TikTok app.

According to a news report from the Independent, the error message read: "We're changing our username requirements and this username will no longer be valid." What followed stated: "Update your username before the new rules take effect." Two options were presented: Key in a new username or select "not now." Both just looped TikTok users back to where they started.

Data gathered by sources claim that around 58 percent of affected users claim they had trouble viewing videos. Meanwhile, around 35 percent were unable to log in and about five percent stated that they could not upload videos. A representative from TikTok said: "Earlier today we experienced a temporary issue in our Singapore data center that caused short-term effects for users around usernames, profile photos, like counts, and follower lists."

Content creators posted details of what they encountered on other social medial channels, which prompted responses related to the controversy surrounding TikTok's alleged ties with Chinese Communist Party (CCP). ByteDance – the company that owns the video-sharing service – has continuously denied all allegations, but this did not stop the United States, India, and Pakistan from restricting the use of the app.

TikTok is at the center of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing Photo: AFP / MARIO TAMA

Their engineers are likely still investigating the cause of the unusual error. For now, its services are back to normal. A month ago, Oracle won against Microsoft in a bid to become the "trusted tech partner" for TikTok in the United States, which should lift restrictions and allow it to resume operations in the country.