What happened: Bytedance-owned short video app TikTok has just surpassed 1 billion downloads on iOS and Android, CNET reported, citing figures from data insight firm Sensor Tower. TikTok was downloaded about 663 million times in 2018, making it the fourth most-downloaded non-game app during the year. The download figure includes the app’s lite versions—a smaller version of the original app with fewer features—and regional variations, but does not include Android installs in China.
Why it’s important: TikTok easily surpassed Instagram’s figure of 444 million downloads in 2018, and is catching up with Facebook’s 711 million. Its rapid growth, however, has not been without problems. TikTok faces regulatory pushback in India, where it is estimated to have been installed 250 million times, for spreading harmful and vulgar content. It is also under fire from child advocates that it is a “hunting ground” for child abusers. The new figures underscores the urgency for effective content filters as the pace of its growth reaches blistering.