Nov 5, 2019

More younger members of Generation Z use TikTok than Facebook

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Adapted from the Morning Consult's Influencer Report; Chart: Axios Visuals

More young teenagers use TikTok than Facebook, according to a new report from Morning Consult. Instagram and Snapchat still beat TikTok by wide margins, but the viral Chinese karaoke app has quickly become popular amongst Generation Z.

Why it matters: TikTok is following a familiar trajectory, beginning with beating out Facebook as a more popular app for young teens.

  • As its popularity rises, so does the scrutiny that comes with it, putting more pressure on it to innovate commercially and arm itself politically.

Driving the news: TikTok "unveiled new tools to let third-party developers integrate their content onto its platform, seeking to deepen ties in the U.S." between app developers and the platform, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: The news comes on the heels of policymaker concerns that the Chinese-owned app could be a national security threat to Americans.

  • The CFIUS, or Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, is reportedly reviewing the TikTok parent company ByteDance's year-old acquisition of U.S. karaoke app Musical.ly.
  • Republican Sen. Josh Hawley told Kim Hart in an interview for "Axios on HBO" that he invited TikTok to a hearing that his committee is hosting on Capitol Hill Tuesday, but that TikTok hasn't responded.
  • "Maybe it's growing popularity, but what exactly does that company do? And again, what's happening to our data when we use that app? ... Americans deserve answers, I think."

Meanwhile, news organizations, brands and celebrities are all rapidly flocking to the platform, in search for their next digital big audience.

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TikTok's rise lands it in critics' crosshairs

A TikTok logo is seen on a mobile device. Photo: Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As TikTok's popularity surges, the Chinese-owned karaoke app is facing rapidly rising headwinds from critics who paint it as a threat to individual users' privacy as well as a geopolitical stalking horse for Chinese interests.

The big picture: As my Axios colleague Sara Fischer reports, TikTok has now hit a milestone — among 13–16 year olds, it's more popular than Facebook.

Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019

Under fire, TikTok tweaks digital gift policy

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

TikTok will raise the minimum age for in-app purchases for its popular social media app this month as it faces growing congressional scrutiny.

The big picture: TikTok is taking hits on fronts ranging from concerns about Chinese control and censorship to safeguarding children's privacy.

Go deeperArrowDec 3, 2019

TikTok apologizes after deleting post on China's Uighur Muslims

A TikTok logo on a mobile device. Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

TikTok apologized on Wednesday for temporarily deleting a viral TikTok post that compared China's mass detention of Uighur Muslims to the Holocaust, citing a "human moderation error."

Why it matters: TikTok is trying to distance itself from its Chinese ownership amid recent reports that moderators have been told to censor videos that reference topics deemed off-limits by the Chinese Communist Party, and U.S. lawmakers' interest in probing the app for censorship.

Go deeperArrowNov 28, 2019