Despite ongoing content concerns, data safety issues, and other controversies of varying degree, TikTok was once again the most downloaded non-gaming app in June 2021, according to the latest data from Sensor Tower.
That means that TikTok has held onto the top spot for basically all of the past 18 months, with the only two exceptions being November last year, when WhatsApp briefly re-took the top spot, and January this year, when Telegram saw a sudden download surge (as a result of WhatsApp’s controversial data privacy update).
As per Sensor Tower:
“TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide for June 2021 with more than 65 million installs. The countries with the largest number of installs were from Douyin in China at 13%, followed by Indonesia at 12%.”
So Sensor Tower is counting the Chinese version of the app, Douyin, in these numbers, which probably should be separated out, as the two are, according to TikTok, wholly separate entities. But even so, the enduring popularity of the short-form video app is pretty amazing, especially when you consider that these are primarily new users coming in.
Like, surely everybody who’s at all interested in the app has downloaded it by now, right?
Clearly not, which can be attributed equally to TikTok’s rising popularity, its younger user base (meaning more and more youngsters are downloading it and signing up as soon as they’re able) and its focus on expansion into new markets.
Which is where Facebook has traditionally been able to bully upstart rivals off of its turf. Facebook’s massive global presence means that it has vastly greater reach than any other platform, which means that when it duplicates the functionality of apps like TikTok – be it with Instagram Reels or other features – it can launch these tools into regions where TikTok, and other apps, haven’t yet been able to reach.
That actually gives Facebook first-mover advantage, despite them being the replicants, which can then slow the take-up of these new tools when they actually do make it to these same regions.
TikTok has largely avoided these impacts by broadening its global focus quickly, which has seen it gain significant traction in regions like Indonesia, Korea and all across Europe.
Indeed, last October, TikTok announced plans to hire around 3,000 more engineers over the next three years, as it sets up new operating centers in Europe, Canada and Singapore, among others. That’s helped TikTok maintain that growth momentum, which it’s hoping to now transition into an eCommerce machine which can generate significant income both for the company itself and its top platform stars, keeping them aligned to the app.
Whether it can provide comparable compensation to Facebook and Google’s apps remains to be seen, but again, looking at the pure user growth charts and download stats, it’s continuing to answer lingering doubts on its potential.
Overall, however, Facebook is still dominating the overall download trends, with four of the top five most downloaded apps for the month.
Sensor Tower says that the majority of new downloads of Facebook, specifically, occurred in India, where it’s slowly gaining steam. WhatsApp remains the dominant connection tool in the emerging region, and with the Indian Government putting pressure on Twitter over censorship concerns, and TikTok still banned, Facebook looks to be doing all it can to play nice with Indian authorities, with a view to becoming the dominant digital platform in the second most populous nation in the world.
Which means that, despite the rise of TikTok, Facebook is still the clear leader, but it is worth taking note of TikTok’s ongoing momentum, and considering what that may mean for your digital marketing approach moving forward.
You can check out Sensor Tower’s full monthly download report for June 2021 here.
UK teen died after ‘negative effects of online content’: coroner
Molly Russell was exposed to online material ‘that may have influenced her in a negative way’ – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Philip FONG
A 14-year-old British girl died from an act of self harm while suffering from the “negative effects of online content”, a coroner said Friday in a case that shone a spotlight on social media companies.
Molly Russell was “exposed to material that may have influenced her in a negative way and, in addition, what had started as a depression had become a more serious depressive illness,” Andrew Walker ruled at North London Coroner’s Court.
The teenager “died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression”, he said, but added it would not be “safe” to conclude it was suicide.
Some of the content she viewed was “particularly graphic” and “normalised her condition,” said Walker.
Russell, from Harrow in northwest London, died in November 2017, leading her family to set up a campaign highlighting the dangers of social media.
“There are too many others similarly affected right now,” her father Ian Russell said after the ruling.
“At this point, I just want to say however dark it seems, there is always hope.
“I hope that this will be an important step in bringing about much needed change,” he added.
The week-long hearing became heated when the family’s lawyer, Oliver Sanders, took an Instagram executive to task.
A visibly angry Sanders asked Elizabeth Lagone, the head of health and wellbeing at Meta, Instagram’s parent company, why the platform allowed children to use it when it was “allowing people to put potentially harmful content on it”.
“You are not a parent, you are just a business in America. You have no right to do that. The children who are opening these accounts don’t have the capacity to consent to this,” he said.
Lagone apologised after being shown footage, viewed by Russell, that “violated our policies”.
Of the 16,300 posts Russell saved, shared or liked on Instagram in the six-month period before her death, 2,100 related to depression, self-harm or suicide, the inquest heard.
Children’s charity NSPCC said the ruling “must be a turning point”.
“Tech companies must be held accountable when they don’t make children’s safety a priority,” tweeted the charity.
“This must be a turning point,” it added, stressing that any delay to a government bill dealing with online safety “would be inconceivable to parents”.
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