Bytedance’s most popular overseas app TikTok has dethroned Facebook to become the second most downloaded app in the world behind WhatsApp.
Since launching in 2017, the app has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times, according to Sensor Tower; US-based research agency.
Recently the app hit 1.5 billion downloads worldwide, outperforming Instagram. Anyone with a smartphone can use TikTok to tell their own story in under 60 seconds.
In China, where the app is called Douyin, viewers can purchase everything from face cream to clothing by tapping on videos created by influencers. But it hasn’t been all fun and games.
According to Sensor Tower, both apps combined accumulate to 740 million downloads last year.
“Short video has been popularised by TikTok for sure, but bigger social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram are aware of it and are doing something about it,” said Meenakshi Tiwari, an analyst at technology market research firm Forrester.
There have been many rivals to the short-video platform such as the Singapore-based Bigo.
Recently Instagram added a new feature called Reels which is a video tool that allows users to create a 15-second long video with music that can be easily uploaded on their stories reported TechCrunch.
In mainland, China Bytedance employs thousands of censors to scrub out inappropriate content in its domestic platforms — at a significant cost to the company.
It reportedly hired 2,000 censors in January 2018 after Beijing accused its news aggregation app of “spreading pornographic and vulgar information”.
It then promised to increase its internal censorship staff to 10,000 after being temporarily banned by the government in a widening content crackdown.
But going global has brought its own censorship challenges for TikTok, which is blocked in Bangladesh and was briefly banned by an Indian court over claims it was promoting pornography among children.
It was also hit with an enormous fine in the US for illegally collecting information from children.
The short-video platform also pays well, Beijing-based Chenjin Culture account featuring a pair of twins on both apps with about 5 million followers earns around US$7,248 and US $14,500 short-video ad it produces for clients.
TikTok is gaining advisers by launching a new feed that would include curated content from original videos created by professionals.
Despite all the ups and downs, the video platform has become an internet sensation with more and more people signing up for the app hence placing it on top.
This article originally published on Tech in Asia.