TikTok announced in a blog post today that 1 billion people use TikTok every month. That means that on this big rock in space that we call home, about one in seven-and-a-half people are regularly watching short-form videos of dancing, dangerous “milk crate challenges” and even actual educational content.
For context, Facebook said that in June it had 2.9 billion monthly active users, up 7% year over year. But TikTok’s growth is rapid — this new user data marks a 45% increase in monthly active users since July 2020, when it had 689 million users. Plus, this July, TikTok became the first non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion global downloads, per app analytics firm SensorTower.
The competition that TikTok poses to Western tech giants is palpable — Instagram, owned by Facebook, has radically shifted its focus, declaring that it’s no longer a photo-sharing app. Instagram is heavily promoting Reels, its TikTok clone, and even discussion forums like Reddit are enticed by the promise of short-form video feeds. Instagram even advised creators that if they recycle watermarked TikToks as posts on Reels, the content will be less discoverable.
TikTok said that its biggest markets are in the United States, Europe, Brazil, and Southeast Asia, even though its parent company ByteDance is headquartered in China. Of course, TikTok has faced severe regulatory threats in recent years — former President Trump attempted to block U.S. business transactions with TikTok, and in India, home to 1.36 billion people, TikTok has been banned since last year.
Despite it all, TikTok continues to exhibit impressive growth. As recently as last month, TikTok parent ByteDance bought the VR hardware company Pico, indicating a potential future expansion into VR. It’s not a coincidence that, all the while, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to turn his trillion-dollar platform into a “metaverse” company. Anyone hungry for some popcorn?