The short-form video application shared that it has one billion active global users


On Sept. 27, the short-form video application TikTok shared that it had reached one billion users using the app globally every month. This is a 300 million growth in comparison to the reported 700 million monthly active global users in the summer of 2020. The app, which is privately owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, reported a surge in users correlating with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

TikTok has grown exponentially since the platform rebranded itself from Musical.ly in 2017 to what we know now as TikTok. In January 2018, TikTok estimated around 55 million global users, which then grew to 571 million by December 2018 and 507 million by December 2019.

The platform has become a source of entertainment, but also for pop culture. In comparison to the platform Vine, TikTok has launched its own stars to success, like the platform’s biggest creator, Charli D’Amelio, or Addison Rae, who signed a Netflix movie deal. 

Millions of fans now watch their dance videos daily on their For You Page. TikTok has become a way for its users to express themselves across the globe, whether it be a college student at Mason or a grandparent in Florida.

TikTok has become a part of many Mason students’ lives. For junior Ashley Kong, she enjoys the platform as a whole. 

“I like using TikTok because it personalizes an algorithm of mini-videos based on your past liked videos or category preferences,” said Kong.

Kong also sometimes finds herself scrolling on her For You Page for hours. 

“I find it really funny and even sometimes find myself scrolling for hours to unwind at the end of the day,” she said. 

TikTok reaching one billion users surprised junior Elise Velez, who thought that TikTok had already passed the milestone.

“I thought TikTok already had one billion users, not going to lie,” Velez said.

 Velez also commented on her love for the platform. 

“I love it because it’s really easy entertainment like you can watch a video and another and then that just goes on for 20 minutes straight and you can’t even tell that it’s probably killing all of our attention spans,” she said. “I can’t even sit through like a minute of TikTok anymore, so maybe that’s something I need to [personally] practice.”

The success of TikTok has brought about new copycat competitors in the short-form video app competition. Facebook launched its TikTok clone, Instagram Reels, last summer. Snapchat announced another feature similar called Spotlight. And Google got in on the competition with YouTube’s Shorts last September.

Velez was intrigued that other platforms have gotten in on the mix. 

“I think that it’s interesting that other platforms are doing the same thing, like I know YouTubers are posted 30-second clips for example now. I also know Instagram has reels now, so I think the fact that so many big companies are taking this technology and utilizing that same idea is proof that TikTok has such a powerful grip on everyone,” she explained.

TikTok made national headlines last year after a scare from a possible U.S. ban after the Trump administration deemed its data storage and security risk. TikTok then was sold to the American company, Oracle, as its technology provider in the U.S. 

With the Biden administration now in power, an executive order was signed this summer that sets the criteria for the government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries. The signing of this executive order means that TikTok is here to stay.