TikTok surpasses Facebook downloads, YouTube watch time, even as we’re told that no new social media app can make it.
While many in the tech sector bemoan the dominance of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple as the “big four,” TikTok’s whirlwind successes across every metric suggests new social media up-and-comers do in fact have a chance.
Guest post by Mike Masnick of Techdirt
While I am concerned about the power wielded by giant tech companies and am interested in creating more competition, I’m always a little perplexed by the arguments that people make that, somehow, the “big four” companies of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple are so dominant that no new competitor can ever catch up to them. It’s one thing to point to similar articles about Myspace that totally dismissed Facebook as a possible competitor to that platform, but it’s another thing altogether to see new social media apps… actually doing pretty well.
TikTok really only launched in 2017 (yes, there were some predecessors, but what we now think of as TikTok was launched in 2017, and really only took off after purchasing Musical.ly in late 2018), by which point we were already told that Facebook and Google had locked down the market entirely. Hell, remember the original FTC complaint against Facebook didn’t even mention TikTok? And then the amended complaint (after the initial one was tossed) barely mentions it and only does so to insist that it’s somehow different.
But, last month it came out that in 2020, TikTok was downloaded more than Facebook. Now, you could maybe try to make the argument that this is because everyone already has Facebook on their phones, but it still is noteworthy. Perhaps even more noteworthy is another report noting that TikTok has overtaken YouTube in average watch time in both the US and UK.
That report does note that YouTube still has more viewers, and thus greater overall time watched, but on a per user basis, users are spending more time on TikTok than YouTube.
There can still be reasonable concerns about practices from the big companies, if they’re shown to be suppressing competition. But it seems harder and harder to buy the line that it’s “impossible” for there to be new entrants in the market these days. Because that’s clearly not the case.