Tiktok says it has 1 billion users
TikTok said on Monday that it has reached 1 billion monthly users. That’s a remarkable number for the platform, launched in August 2018, which has been scrutinized by governments – including the US – who are concerned about the data collection practices of its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance.
According to app analytics company SensorTower, TikTok’s popularity soared during the pandemic, becoming the most downloaded app in the world in the first quarter of 2020, with nearly 315 million downloads in that quarter alone.
ByteDance reportedly saw its 2020 revenue more than double from a year ago to $34.3 billion. Since launch, SensorTower says TikTok installs have reached 3.2 billion, including information from Douyin, the Chinese version of the app. The monthly average users of TikTok in August were 25 percent higher than in August 2020. In June of this year, ByteDance was valued at $425 billion.
And other apps created their own short-form video products, in an effort to mimic the massive success of TikTok. Facebook-owned Instagram launched Reels last August; Snapchat introduced its in-app TikTok clone Spotlight in November, and even video behemoth YouTube has joined the short-form game, making its YouTube shorts debut in the US earlier this year. But TikTok continued to grow; A report earlier this month found that TikTok users spend more time viewing its content than YouTube users.
On Monday, TikTok’s chief operating officer Vanessa Pappas thanked users for “making TikTok a really special place” in a video on TikTok.
ByteDance reportedly indefinitely postponed its plans for an initial public offering amid crackdowns on tech firms by Chinese regulators over the past few months. China is investigating what it believes to be anti-competitive practices from its big tech firms and how the companies handle sensitive customer data
ByteDance and TikTok were among Chinese tech firms that were targeted by the Trump administration last year through a series of executive orders blocking their apps from the US App Store. Neither order ever went into effect, and in June, President Joe Biden signed an executive order ending Trump-era sanctions. Biden directed the commerce secretary to investigate apps with links to foreign adversaries such as China that may collect sensitive data from US consumers.
But TikTok also saw some novel bright spots during the pandemic, not the least of which was the fan-made, crowd-pleasing ratatouille TikTok music. It began as a one-off bit based on the 2007 Disney/Pixar film, in which Broadway fans, musicians, choreographers and others joined one by one on TikTok. Ratatouille: TikTok Musical debuted as a one-night streaming concert on January 1, raising more than $1 million for The Actors Fund, which supports artists and workers in the entertainment industry.