TikTok’s Increasing Popularity in Nigeria – The Likes, Dislikes and Privacy Issues Surrounding the Fastest-growing Social Platform


TikTok is fast becoming a common social media platform among Nigerians. Its trademark short videos with music, filters and other features are becoming popular especially among young people.

TikTok’s popularity is increasing in Nigeria

Its popularity in the country has also received a major boost following the stay home directive by the government due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. The restriction has seen many Nigerians turn to social media platforms for entertainment and social engagement.

The number of TikTok downloads during the second week of March was up 12% with about 28.5 million new downloads globally.

Over 800 million active users

TikTok is a video-sharing app that allows users to create and share videos in feeds that can last up to 60 seconds. Since its global launch in 2017, the app’s popularity has grown exponentially.

TikTok has over 800m active users

The video app now has about 800 million active users making it the 9th largest social network in the world ahead of Twitter and Snapchat. 

The app has surpassed the 1 billion and 1.5 billion downloads milestone on Apple and Play Store.


Lockdown is increasing popularity in Nigeria

In Nigeria, TikTok has also seen an increase in popularity as many Nigerians have been engaging in various video challenges on the app.

The platform allows people to express themselves in creative ways, whether that’s by singing, dancing, lip-syncing to their favourite tune or doing some form of comedy. This has helped it suck many young Nigerians in and indeed endeared it to them. Some of the videos created on the app are funny and entertaining and as such, are raking in lots of views.

The video-sharing app has over 1 billion videos viewed everyday

TechNext surveyed random TikTok users in a bid to fully articulate the rising trend. 80% of them started using the app in 2020. However, 50% of the users revealed that they started using the app during the stay home directive necessitated by the current pandemic.

50% of the users started using TikTok during stay home policy

Nigerians mostly discovered TikTok on other social media platforms

Surprisingly, Funny videos and challenges created on TikTok continue to find their way into other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter with increasing frequency.

Whether this ‘collaboration’ is deliberate or not remains to be seen. What we know however is that it is driving TikTok’s popularity among young Nigerians who, before now, are more vested in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

70% of our population said that they found out about the app from other social media platforms like WhatsApp and Twitter. 30% said they found out from friends.

Growing love for short videos

TikTok’s short video is building a subculture for the youths. The freedom of expression the app allows them through the creation and watching of entertaining videos has drawn in a lot of youthful fans.

Chinonso, a member of the population surveyed expressed that what he loved most about the app is the fact that its videos made people laugh.

I love TikTok videos because of its ability to make people laugh.

More Nigerian celebrities are using the app

Another user, Oluwademilade, expressed that what he loved most about the app were its video editing interface and features. He wasn’t alone, Nnennaya shared that she loved that you can play around with the many features of the app

Nnamdi, in his opinion, said he loved the way the app allowed him to use other sounds and music like they were his’.

I love the way Tiktok allows me to use of other sounds and music to pose as mine when creating Videos


Nigerians love video challenges

TikTok is well known for its various video challenges. The challenges which are usually initiated by TikTokers or influencers with many followers have become very popular especially during this stay at home period.

Some challenges like #DontRushChallenge, #BopDaddyChallenge and #FlipTheSwitchChallenge etc trended beyond the TikTok platform into other popular social platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Zoba, one of the surveyed users shared that he especially loved the couple’s game challenge on the app. Another user, Damilare also said he enjoyed TikTok’s video challenges.

However, another user John said there was nothing he really liked about the app and that it sucks a lot of data.

TikTok vs Other social media platform

TikTok, users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app. When compared to other social media platforms, users spend more time on Facebook (58.5 min per day) than TikTok users.

In normal times, these figures would be too high especially considering that research shows the average time an individual spends on Facebook per day is 38 minutes. But since the lockdown has given most people 24 hours of free time, that explains the spike.

TikTok's Increasing Popularity in Nigeria - The Likes, Dislikes and Privacy Issues
60% of users preferred other social media platforms to TikTok

However, users spend almost the same amount of time (53 minutes) per day on TikTok as they do on Instagram. 60% of TikTok users surveyed preferred other social media platforms. A good number of the population prefer Twitter while a few prefer Snapchat.

In a nutshell, TikTok can’t be said to be the most popular social media in Nigeria yet. But if its popularity continues to grow, it would come close in no distant time.

TikTok’s Privacy Concerns

Last month, U.S. lawmakers accused TikTok of sharing user data with the Chinese government. The platform is owned by a Chinese tech company, ByteDance

According to a 2017 Chinese law, companies operating in the country are required to cooperate with the government on national intelligence.

Although ByteDance has refuted the claims and has said that user data is stored in the United States, several agencies that deal with national security and intelligence issues have banned employees from using the app.

The CEO of Reddit, Steve Huffman has also accused the video app of being a spyware that tracked the actions of the users. He added that the app is always listening and possessed a very terrifying fingerprinting technology.

Maybe I’m going to regret this, but I can’t even get to that level of thinking with them. Because I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic, that it’s always listening, the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone.

Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit

The increased scrutiny and raised flags on TikTok’s Privacy have further raised doubt in many privacy-conscious people who would have otherwise used the app.

Nevertheless, the app is gradually enjoying increased patronage from Nigerians as the current crisis has created a void that the app is filling.

In conclusion…

Although TikTok short videos make them popular, other video apps like Snapchat and Youtube have been here for some time and are still strong competitors whom they have to contend with in the video market.

Suggested reads: YouTube Plans to Launch Feed of Brief Videos to Rival TikTock Called ‘Shorts’

TikTok’s model is obviously working for them but they have to put the many privacy worries behind the app if they want more privacy-conscious Nigerians to join their platforms. Apart from privacy concerns, the app is a fun app to explore.

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