Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Growing security and privacy concerns over Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok have given a lift to alternatives like Byte and Dubsmash, which have seen spikes in downloads from smartphone users recently, according to data from SensorTower.

Why it matters: If TikTok's meteoric rise in popularity among U.S. youth gets slowed by rising tensions with China, or ended by a threatened ban by the Trump administration, American teens will still have to get their hits of meme-laden video somewhere.

  • Snapchat is testing a TikTok-style navigation for exploring content, per TechCrunch. The test is focused on public video content within its content arm Discover, not private content sent amongst friends.
  • Byte, which launched in January and was created by former Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann, experienced a bump in downloads a few days ago following President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's talks about possibly banning TikTok in the U.S.
  • Dubsmash, an older lip-sync video app, has seen a resurgence in downloads following the news of a possible ban.
Data: SensorTower; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: TikTok is getting pulled into the deadly serious geopolitical conflict between China and the U.S., as Axios has previously reported.

  • More than any other Chinese-owned app, TikTok has found success outside of its homeland. But as the U.S. sounds security alarms and China turns the legal screws on Hong Kong, the company is fighting to prove that it's not beholden to Beijing — and to forestall a threatened ban by the Trump administration.

By the numbers: TikTok grew its monthly user base in India prior to the government ban last month by 328.8% year over year to 79.0 million in 2019.

  • This year, Business Insider forecasts that it will reach 124.9 million people, up 58.1%, and surpassing Instagram and Snapchat's reach in the region.
Data: AppTopia; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Be smart: More institutions continue to put pressure on users and employees to abandon TikTok, including India, U.S. military agencies and political parties, and some companies, like Wells Fargo.

Go deeper

Sarah Cooper, comedian known for viral Trump lip-syncs, lands Netflix special

Sarah Cooper's TikTok account. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Author Sarah Cooper, best-known for her viral lip-sync impersonations of President Trump on TikTok, will star in a Netflix comedy special in fall 2020, the company announced Wednesday.

The big picture: Cooper, who wrote a pair of best-selling books prior to her internet fame, has seen her platform grow to over 500,000 followers on TikTok and over two million on Twitter, according to Netflix.

Aug 11, 2020 - Technology

Facebook steps up hate speech crackdown, removing 22.5 million posts in Q2

Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images

Facebook took down 22.5 million posts for hate speech during the second quarter of this year, more than ten times the number it removed in the same quarter last year and more than twice the number removed in the first quarter of 2020.

Why it matters: The company is facing enormous pressure from the advertising and civil rights communities to address hate speech on its platforms. Last month, civil rights groups initiated a Facebook ad boycott that was joined by over 1,000 advertisers.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.