Not exactly the best news to come across, but not exactly surprising either. The infamous Chinese social media application TikTok has officially become the world’s second-most popular app after surpassing Facebook’s Messenger in the number of downloads. And India had a huge part to play in this progress.
Best known for its short-form videos that are usually comedic in nature, TikTok has experienced a massively successful year. In spite of having been banned by the US Army over security concerns, the media app garnered more than 700 million downloads in 2019. This achievement places it right behind WhatsApp in terms of popularity, with the messaging app gaining 850 million downloads.
Unsurprisingly, TikTok owes much of its boost in popularity to increased usage in India. From viral videos of “Jokar” to random dance videos, the Indian population has not only contributed an immense amount of content, it has also viewed a lot of it.
According to research conducted by Sensor Tower, 45% of first-time downloads were from India. Similarly, 39% of the growth experienced by WhatsApp in the final quarter of 2019 can be attributed to the Indian masses.
One has to credit TikTok for its unique short video format that has revolutionized the social media world, for better or for worse. In fact, Facebook and Instagram have already taken steps to copy the addictive app’s format and include it in their own platforms, with the former launching Lasso and the latter testing a new video editing tool called Reels.
But while TikTok is posing a threat to other platforms, it has to deal with problems of its own. For one, it will have to deal with intense competition from Likee, a similar app based in Singapore that currently possesses a total of 330 million downloads. Secondly, since most of revenue is still coming from its home nation of China, its parent company ByteDance is looking for alternative means of attracting advertisers.
However, one thing is clear: TikTok is going to hang around for quite a while. Make of that what you will.