TikTok said it has surpassed 1 billion monthly users, a significant number for a platform launched in August 2018, and has come under scrutiny by governments – including the US – who are concerned about the data-collection practices of its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance.
The platform soared in popularity during the pandemic, becoming the world’s most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2020, with about 315 million downloads in the quarter alone, according to app analytics firm SensorTower.
ByteDance saw its 2020 revenue more than double from the previous year, to $34.3 billion.
Since its launch so far, SensorTower says that the platform’s application installs have reached 3.2 billion, which includes data from Douyin, the Chinese version of the application, according to the Arab Technical News Gateway.
The platform’s average monthly users increased in August by 25%, compared to the same month in 2020. In June of this year, ByteDance was valued at $425 billion.
Other platforms seeking to replicate TikTok’s phenomenal success have created their own short video products. The Facebook-owned Instagram platform launched the Reels feature last August.
Snapchat introduced Spotlight in November. Even the giant video platform YouTube entered this field through YouTube Shorts.
But TikTok has continued to grow. A report released earlier this month found that users of the platform spend more time viewing its content than YouTube users.
Vanessa Pappas, chief operating officer of TikTok, thanked users in a video across the platform for “making it such a special place”.
ByteDance has reportedly postponed its IPO plans indefinitely amid a crackdown on technology companies by Chinese regulators over the past few months.
China is examining what it sees as anti-competitive practices from its big tech companies, and how companies handle sensitive customer data.
ByteDance and TikTok were among the Chinese technology companies targeted by the Trump administration last year. And that’s through a series of executive orders banning its apps from US app stores.
None of the orders went into effect, and President Joe Biden in June signed an executive order rescinding the ban, but he directed the Commerce Secretary to investigate apps that have ties to foreign adversaries like China, and that may collect sensitive data from American consumers.