Over the course of 2019, TikTok eventually managed to overcome the controversy and return to being one of the most popular apps in both Google Play and App Store. The journey however, revealed how deep it had an impact on social media.
To understand TikTok’s impact the numbers involved need to be looked at first. To begin with, TikTok now has over 1.5 billion users across all platforms, and by the end of Q3 2019, TikTok had exceeded Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Snapchat’s likes in terms of App Store and Google Play installs.
Today, this is quite interesting because it did not become an overnight success when TikTok was first released as Music.ly in 2016. In reality, it took the site a few years and even a rebrand to swell in numbers before its downloads and monthly users.
The first upturn was seen by the end of 2018, and this continued well into 2019, with the platform attracting more than 500 million users in 2019 alone. In terms of growth, during Q1 2018-2019, the app showed nearly 100 percent growth in new users.
While these numbers are impressive, what’s more fascinating is that during this time, India turned out to be the prime growth engine for the app. TikTok’s growth was a result of new new users in India during the first quarter of 2019, with an estimated 88.6 million new users joining the social media app.
In comparison in the United States, only 13.2 million users have joined another of the major global markets.
Around 41 percent of its user base is believed to be between the ages of 16-24, demonstrating just how wide the platform’s audience is. And that’s probably the biggest problem.
While we can’t ignore the success of the app, we can’t ignore the fact that the audience that swears by it is the one that has produced the platform’s biggest problems.
India awakened in 2019 to the reality of young, ambitious minds falling prey to TikTok’s pressures.
Due to some high-profile incidents that showed the platform in poor light, the app faced a strong backlash and resulted in India joining the that list of countries including Bangladesh and Indonesia, where the app faced being banned.
In reality, the platform also faced one for a brief period of time, with the Madras High Court ordering tech giants Google and Apple to remove the application during the first few months of the year from the Android and iOS application stores.
The step increased the heat on TikTok that had previously been under the scanner for a number of highly publicized incidents that led to increased calls for bans against it.
While India’s Supreme Court eventually lifted the ban, the move left TikTok with major monetary losses. More crucially, however, it has lost the momentum it has built up over the past few months.
But aside from its roller-coaster journey through 2019, this year has demonstrated just how impactful TikTok can be and how it has the power to disrupt social media definitions.


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