TikTok overtakes Facebook as the world’s most downloaded app

The global survey of downloads in 2020 shows that TikTok – a video sharing app developed in China – topped this list for the first time.

TikTok is the most downloaded social media app in 2020, ahead of Facebook and three other apps also owned by the company. Photo: Reuters

Launched internationally by the company ByteDance in 2017, TikTok has surpassed Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger – all owned by Facebook – in downloads, even in the US.

“I often watch videos of artists posting there after they stop performing live because of the pandemic,” Nina, 37, of Portland (USA) told Nikkei.

Likee application – a platform that competes with TikTok and is also developed by China – is ranked 8th in the global download rankings.

“TikTok’s total watch time in the US and UK is longer than YouTube. Short videos will continue to attract attention,” said Chuzen Kin, Marketing Director at app market research firm App Annie.

In early 2021, WhatsApp announced it would share messaging data with Facebook regarding interactions between users and companies. Although WhatsApp promises to protect information about communication between friends and family, many users have turned to other applications.

Going against that trend, Telegram – the messaging app originally developed in Russia but now based in Germany – rose to 6th place.

Due to increasing personal privacy concerns, Telegram is heavily downloaded in 2020 amid an increase in the number of social network users due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Users can adjust the settings to delete messages automatically after a certain period of time.

Several other short video sharing apps are also popular in Asia. Snack Video by Kuaishou (China) ranked 6th in terms of downloads in Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, the Line messaging application is especially popular in Thailand and Japan thanks to its convenient payment function.

Faced with the current epidemic situation, the Osaka Prefecture (Japan) authorities allow people to book an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine via Line. Other local governments in Japan also widely use Line to disseminate information to the community.

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