Tiktok has become the most downloaded app in the world. The video-sharing app jumped three places from its 2019 ranking to displace Facebook’s popular messaging app and WhatsApp in 2020. Tiktok recorded over 310 million downloads in the first quarter of the year.
Even though they have been displaced by Tiktok, Facebook-owned social platforms nonetheless performed well in the rankings. While Facebook Messenger dropped from 1 to 5, Facebook and WhatsApp maintained their second and third spots while Instagram climbed one spot to emerge 4th on the rankings.
Other social apps with impressive rankings include Snapchat which jumped from 7th in 2019 to 6th in 2020 and Telegram which climbed from 8th to 7th. Microblogging platform, Twitter fell to 10th on the log.
“The total viewing time for TikTok in the US and UK is longer than that for YouTube, and short videos will continue to attract attention. In terms of content, music and comedies are becoming more popular.”Chuzen Kin, marketing manager at App Annie
TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance. The social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education, that have a duration from fifteen seconds to three minutes.
By April of last year, the app had amassed over 2billion downloads globally. Initially, this app was seen as a Gen Z space only, but it has since witnessed an influx of new users outside of that demography due to worldwide lockdown measures.
As more users are stuck at home and on their phones, they’re looking for new ways to entertain themselves. Social media users are already attracted to video, and when you combine that with TikTok’s intelligent algorithm, you create a nearly irresistible app for users.
Overall, the social video platform has generated more than 3 billion lifetime downloads to become the first non-Facebook-owned app to achieve that feat.
Rising to the top amid international setbacks
Tiktok has suffered a number of setbacks on its way to the top. Many of its problems were due to security and privacy concerns as authorities in certain countries fear that personal information shared on the platform is not safe.
In June 2020, TikTok was banned in India, the world’s second-most populous country, at the height of its popularity. At the time, TikTok was on track to reach 120 million users, a figure that put the app ahead of Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms in the country.
But perhaps one of its biggest setbacks came in the United States when former president Donald Trump mandated the company to sell its US operations or suffer a ban. The former president claimed that the platform posed a security risk because the Chinese government has access to users data.
To salvage the situation, Bytedance was to sell part of its American business to Oracle and Walmart as was approved by Trump but the Chinese government refused to give the approval. President Joe Biden has since withdrawn Donald Trump’s order, thus given Tiktok free reign once again.
The app has also been subject to bans in Armenia, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, was pulled out of Hong Kong last year and Pakistan only recently rescinded its second ban on the platform.
Despite the setbacks, TikTok’s network grew in 2020. Around 50 countries have been added to TikTok’s service map in the past year and the app is now available in more than 200 countries.
In January 2021, TikTok had 61million downloads. By the second quarter of 2021, TikTok had achieved approximately 205 million downloads for the year.
In the past week, reports stated that TikTok was testing vanishing clips similar to what users can find on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Now, users can see TikTok stories for 24 hours after they are posted by accounts they follow.
This started after WhatsApp rolled out a feature for users to post photos or videos that vanish after they are seen.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!