Communist China’s TikTok surpassed the search engine giant Google as the world’s most popular domain in 2020 largely thanks to Generation Z.
According to the web security company Cloudlare’s “Year in Review” report, TikTok surpassed Google, Facebook, and Amazon as the most popular domain despite those platforms’ multiple features, from video sharing to news distribution.
“Google.com — which also includes Maps, Translate, and News among others — ended the previous year as the leader in Cloudflare’s rankings,” reported Search Engine Journal. “At that time, TikTok was ranking in the 7th position,” adding:
The number of global TikTok users number grew 59.8% in 2020, and went up by an additional 40.8% in 2021. Further, Insider Intelligence estimates TikTok will see a 15.1% growth in global users in 2022. Should that estimate hold true, TikTok will hold a 20% share of overall social media users by the end of next year.
The most popular domains in 2021 were:
Cloudflare claimed that TikTok had a few great days of traffic in early 2021 until the domain finally “took the lead on most days” in early August.
“There were some days when Google was #1, but October and November were mostly TikTok’s days, including on Thanksgiving (November 25) and Black Friday (November 26),” noted Cloudflare.
Breitbart News Tech has reported at length on communist China’s influence over TikTok. While the platform has tried to distance itself from its parent-company, ByteDance in Beijing as the United States government and U.S.-based companies warn about its dangers, insiders report that Beijing ultimately has the final say. As Lucas Nolan noted:
According to six current and former TikTok employees, the firm was still largely under the influence of ByteDance’s Beijing headquarters. Four current and former staffers told Business Insider that discussions relating to TikTok’s products often require calls with employees at ByteDance’s China HQ and final product decisions are regularly made in Beijing.
An anonymous former staffer stated: “It’s that feeling a little bit in the US where you’re sort of helpless to a lot of the decisions that are made out of China.”
TikTok’s employees refer to the ByteDance Beijing office and its staff as “HQ” according to five of the current and former staffers. “Even our internal ticketing system will reroute questions to HQ, eliciting the response, ‘Oh no, it went to HQ,’” said one current staffer.
The exact national security threat that TikTok poses to the United States has been hard to pinpoint, given that the platform’s data collection methods resemble other social media giants and its overwhelming user base of U.S. teenagers. One particular fear among experts is how the platform could be used as a censorship and propaganda arm of the Chinese communist party.
“Guidelines from TikTok obtained by both The Guardian and The Intercept last year show the company instructed staff at one point to censor topics sensitive to Beijing, as well as people it deemed unattractive,” reported Wired in 2020.
Also, a 2020 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) found that “TikTok has more invasive permissions than similar apps, allowing the harvesting of users’ passwords and credit card information,” according to the Washington Post.