TikTok and Chinese version Douyin were the second most-downloaded app across Apple’s App Store and Google Play in the fourth quarter and full year of 2019, according to a report from analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Why it matters: Despite rising controversy in 2019, it remained one of the world’s most popular apps, led only by Facebook’s WhatsApp.

  • TikTok was banned for two weeks in India in April for spreading pornography and encouraging predatory behaviors. The ban cost the app more than 15 million first-time users.
  • Since October, TikTok has been facing scrutiny in the US for potential data security and privacy risks it poses to users in the country.

Details: TikTok and Douyin recorded more than 738 million downloads in 2019 across Apple’s App Store and Google Play, with the latter contributing around 600 million installs.

  • Downloads for the Bytedance app reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2019 with close to 220 million installs, growing 24% sequentially and 6% year on year.
  • In comparison, WhatsApp was downloaded around 849 million times in 2019.
  • Downloads for TikTok and Douyin in 2019 surpassed those of Facebook and Facebook Messenger, which were the second and third most-downloaded apps in 2018, respectively.
  • The app’s performance also propelled Bytedance to be ranked the world’s third most-popular publisher in terms of downloads in 2019, led only by Facebook and Google.

TikTok says no user data requests from Chinese authorities in H1 2019

Context: TikTok released its first-ever transparency report on Dec. 30 to allay fears that the platform hands user information to the Chinese government or censors content at its request.

  • According to the report, the app did not receive any request for user information from the Chinese government in the first half of 2019. The highest number of such requests came from the Indian government.
  • TikTok has also moved to clean up “misleading information” on the platform, banning content “meant to incite fear, hate, or prejudice,” according to a Reuters report.

Tony Xu

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail: tony.xu@technode.com

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