TikTok, a social media platform owned by Chinese parent company Bytedance, has been downloaded over one billion times.
The app, which has been called the “last sunny corner of the internet” by The Economist, is a video sharing social media app where users create, share and discuss short media content.
Learnbonds.com gathered data that indicate a 200 million jump in downloads in the first quarter of 2020. The 28% increase year-on-year in downloads comes at a time when the global economy is reeling from the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.
According to the Learnbonds report, the spike in downloads of the app coincided with more citizens living under lockdown and looking for alternate ways to consume media.
Outside of China, India is responsible for 24.7% of the quarter’s downloads, while Brazil accounts for 14% and the US 13.7%.
Success in western media markets, something historically difficult for Asian apps to achieve, came off the back of two years of aggressive marketing campaigns.
ByteDance spent over $1 billion in marketing in 2018, often using ad space on what are considered competitors, like Snapchat and Instagram, to reach millennial audiences. This year the group spent an estimated $700 000 on ad space at America’s largest and most viewed sporting event, the Super Bowl.
The success of TikTok in the US has not come without its detractors. Some reports have claimed ByteDance shares private data with the Chinese government. ByteDance has denied this and has even gone so far as to build a ‘transparency centre’ in Los Angeles to help ease suspicions. The centre, which is due to open in May, will allow for external experts to verify TikTok’s content management practices.
Global and national entities like the World Health Organisation, the National Health Services in Britain, and the Red Cross have verified accounts that are being used to relay important information and news. Videos with #coronavirus have been viewed 64 billion times while a #thankyouNHS video, a celebration of healthcare workers in Britain, has been viewed more the 400 million times.