It is the Chinese-owned quick video-sharing site that you may also no longer have heard of if you are over 30 and if you neither an iPhone or Android user.
But on Tech Tent this week we discover why TikTok may want to be the largest threat to Facebook.
We learned two vital things about TikTok this week – it is earning a stunning amount of money, and Mark Zuckerberg sees it as a serious rival.
Figures obtained via the Reuters news organization showed that its proprietor ByteDance earned revenues of between $7bn (£5.7bn) and $8.4bn in the first half of the year. And while it made losses over the length as a whole, it moved into income in June and is assured of persevering with profitability in the second 1/2 of the year.
At a time when the likes of WeWork, Uber, and Lyft are warning that the path to profits is lengthy and uncertain, that is an amazing performance from a tech business simply a couple of years old.
And Mark Zuckerberg looks to agree. A leaked recording of a Facebook group of workers assembly received by way of tech news web site The Verge shows him telling his group simply how unexpectedly TikTok is growing.
“It’s the first client internet product constructed by using one of the Chinese tech giants that is doing quite nicely around the world. It’s beginning to do well in the US, in particular with young folks. It’s developing sincerely shortly in India. I think it’s previous Instagram now in India in phrases of scale. So yeah, it’s a very fascinating phenomenon.”
He then goes on to define plans to take on this “interesting phenomenon” through launching a copycat version in Mexico, where TikTok has yet to make lots of an impact.
So how large is TikTok amongst teenagers?
I bought some insight into its growth when I gave a speak in a South Wales college a few weeks ago. As is my habit, I started with an instant poll of the audience’s social media habits. Although Facebook used to be on the wane, a forest of arms went up for Instagram and Snapchat. But while at a comparable discuss some months formerly TikTok hadn’t acquired a mention, this time there had been lots of nods and smiles from the audience.
And the research company AppAnnie, which video display units downloads of cell applications, reinforces that anecdotal evidence. Its European analyst Paul Barnes tells us that backyard China, Android users spent 1.1 billion hours on TikTok in August, a 400% expand on a year ago.
But he says that what need to genuinely worry other social media firms is the degree of dedication of TikTok users, in contrast to any individual posting a photo on Instagram or updating their Facebook status.
“You have to put pretty a lot of time in to make a proper TikTok video,” he explains. “So, if I was a rival and looking at it, I’d be pretty jealous of the amount of time and the amount of dedication that customers of TikTok are inserting into publishing their personal content on there.”
But with this fast boom come worries about how secure the platform is. Earlier this year a BBC investigation observed TikTok failing to shut the money owed of some adult customers who had contacted adolescents with sexual messages. TikTok stated that promoting a protected and nice app surroundings for our users is their pinnacle priority.
It is also clear that it is very tons a Chinese company, with all that entails in phrases of censorship. The Guardian lately posted a leak of interior archives showing that moderators are recommended to delete videos citing touchy subjects such as Tiananmen Square. There are additionally suspicions that discussion of the unrest in Hong Kong has been censored.
But it is doubtful that its millions of users in Europe and the United States either recognize or care that TikTok is a Chinese company. When we stopped young humans outdoor a London fashion save to get their views on it they described it as “fun”, “catchy”, “funny”, and “cringey however a large fashion – it’s everywhere”.
Perhaps now not the variety of phrases teenagers would use these days to describe either Facebook or Instagram – and that is why Mark Zuckerberg is right to be worried.