TikTok Carries on Despite Challenges From Competing Apps and the United States Government

Via Amanda Vick on Unsplash.

The takeaways

  • Snapchat joins Instagram and YouTube in testing TikTok alternatives after the U.S. threatened the app with a ban.
  • Video app Byte set a 622,000 daily download record after the banning comments, but TikTok remains strong in Asia.
  • TikTok also launched “Be Informed,” which trains users to identify misleading content.

What happened?

Like Facebook and Twitter, TikTok continues doing business despite external pressures. Whilst appealing its ban from India and exiting Hong Kong, the Chinese-owned company also contends with the U.S. government and market competitors.

Snapchat is now testing TikTok’s signature vertical swipe functionality on its own Discover content. This follows Instagram Reels’ Indian launch after TikTok’s ban, while downloads of Byte reached a daily record of 622,000 after the U.S. government suggested following suit. YouTube already offers its own TikTok clone, Shorts, and is currently testing another one.

TikTok, meanwhile, is addressing the climate of security fears and social media misinformation. Its new “Be Informed” series gives creators tools to evaluate content trustworthiness. The company also recently removed 29,000 videos for spreading false COVID-19 information in Europe.

What does this mean?

Shawn Tan of ad agency M&C Saatchi writes that it’s still “highly advantageous for brands to start testing and understanding the platform to be ready for future opportunities.” As an example, Douyin, China’s TikTok counterpart directs users to e-commerce platforms. But an American ban could either broaden competitors‘ consumer share or even drive creators into new areas, like reality TV.

Growth continues in Asia – Indonesian downloads grew 329% between January and June. Disney’s Hulu followed it into the self-service ad market, setting minimum spends at USD$500. And Wells Fargo banning TikTok from company devices isn’t likely to dent its popularity with its creative Gen Z audience.

TikTok’s rivals, by comparison, haven’t achieved similar success, though Reels’ performance in India could foreshadow a TikTok-less U.S. consumer market. Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram essentially borrow the competition’s best features to keep their audiences glued to their apps. But TikTok isn’t easy to discount: its pre-pandemic daily video uploads numbered at least 27 million, which have likely risen in line with pandemic app habits.

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