TikTok says it has crossed a major milestone: The social video app claims it now counts more than 1 billion monthly active users.
TikTok is the successor to Musical.ly, the short-form video app that was acquired by Chinese internet giant ByteDance in 2017, which then migrated those users over to the TikTok platform in 2018. The tremendous popularity of TikTok, primarily among teens and young adults, has inspired copycat features from YouTube (with YouTube Shorts) and Instagram (Instagram Reels).
Each month “over a billion people from around the world come to TikTok to be entertained, inspired or discover something new, like sports, music, arts and culture, fashion, DIY and more,” TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas said in a video posted Monday on the service.
TikTok originally drew a fanbase for lip-syncing music videos soundtracked by snippets of songs. The app has expanded to other categories and added other features, like expanding the maximum length of a video to 3 minutes from 60 seconds, and the ability to share sound clips with other users.
Last year, the future of TikTok was up in the air after Donald Trump issued executive orders that sought to ban TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps over supposed national security concerns. This summer, President Biden officially revoked Trump’s August 2020 order instructing Chinese internet giant ByteDance to sell TikTok to U.S. entities under the threat of the TikTok app’s shutdown.
Prior to Trump targeting TikTok, ByteDance had hired ex-Disney exec Kevin Mayer in May 2020 to become CEO of TikTok and COO of ByteDance. But Mayer resigned three months later after TikTok became a geopolitical football. This year, ByteDance named Shou Zi Chew CEO of TikTok, while Pappas, who had served as interim head of TikTok, formally assumed the role of chief operating officer.
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