TikTok Eclipses Facebook as Most Downloaded App Globally

A 2020 survey of downloads around the world revealed that TikTok tops the list of social media providers for the first time since the survey was initiated in 2018. TikTok parent company ByteDance debuted the international version of the app in 2017, which has since outdistanced Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, all of which fill the other four spots in the top five apps. In 2020, former president Donald Trump called on TikTok to be forced to sell off its U.S. operations, citing security concerns.

Nikkei Asia reports that President Joe Biden has since withdrawn Trump’s executive order. Also ranking high on the list of top downloaded apps was Telegram, a messaging app that can delete posts. According to App Annie marketing manager Chuzen Kin, “the total viewing time for TikTok in the U.S. 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,” he said. Nikkei Asia adds that, “vocal social media is also on the up, with Clubhouse taking off in Japan and the U.S. in early 2021.”

Also finding a top spot in the download list was China’s Likee, a TikTok rival which “creates short videos that many companies use for marketing.” When, at the start of 2021, WhatsApp said it “would share messaging data with Facebook relating to interactions between users and companies … some users moved over to other apps.”

Telegram, originally developed in Russia and now based in Germany, is now in the No. 7 spot. Because of the ability to delete messages automatically, Telegram was “a particular hit with protesters in Hong Kong and Thailand who wanted to operate under the state radar.”

At the International University of Japan’s Center for Global Communications, associate professor Shinichi Yamaguchi stated that, “companies’ approach to handling data will become a deciding factor in consumer choices.” Discord, a voice calling app funded by the Sony Group, “is popular among gamers for chatting when online.”

Three of China’s top 10 apps are domestic, including TikTok predecessor Douyin, which is popular for music, dancing and general entertainment content; Douyin Volcano Edition, which provides videos from everyday life; and Tencent’s WeShow for video games where celebrities sometimes play games live. New on the list and at No. 5 is Little Red Book, which “combines social networking with e-commerce, mainly cosmetics, fashion, dietary supplements and consumer goods.”