China’s TikTok Overtakes Facebook as Second Most Downloaded App

TikTok video app
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Chinese-owned social media app TikTok has overtaken Facebook to become the world’s second most downloaded app. Only the Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has more installs globally.

Tech in Asia reports that the Chinese-owned app TikTok and its Chinese equivalent Douyin has been ranked as the world’s second most downloaded app of 2019. TikTok and Douyin had a combined number of 740 million downloads last year, overtaking both Facebook and Messenger to become the world’s second most downloaded app just behind WhatsApp according to market analyst Sensor Tower.

One of the company’s smaller rivals, Likee, which is another short-form video app owned by the Singapore-based firm Bigo. It made its debut among the top 10 with 330 million installations, half of which came from India according to Sensor Tower. The report includes worldwide downloads for iPhone, iPad, and Google Play but did not include Apple apps and Google pre-installed apps.

Meenakshi Tiwari, an analyst at the technology market research firm Forrester commented: “Short video has been popularized by TikTok for sure, but bigger social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram are aware of it and are doing something about it.”

In October of 2019, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) asked the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, to investigate the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok to determine if it poses “national security risks.”

“With over 110 million downloads in the U.S. alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore,” wrote Schumer and Cotton, who currently sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Given these concerns, we ask that the Intelligence Community conduct an assessment of the national security risks posed by TikTok and other China-based content platforms operating in the U.S. and brief Congress on these findings.”

TikTok published a response to this in an unsigned blog post in which the company stressed its independence from China. The firm stated that it is not “subject to Chinese law,” and stressed that it has “never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked.”

The senators stated that they feared that TikTok would be forced to adhere to Chinese laws which would “compel Chinese companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.” Schumer and Cotton worried that TikTok could be a “potential target of foreign influence campaigns like those carried out during the 2016 election on U.S.-based social media platforms.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently called on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review the acquisition of social media app Musical.ly by TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. over claims that TikTok is used by the Chinese government to censor certain political content.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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