TikTok has officially surpassed 1 billion monthly active users around the globe. The short-form video app, owned by Chinese technology firm ByteDance, has surged in popularity since its launch in September 2016. TikTok reported about 55 million global users as of January 2018, which rose to more than 271 million by December 2018, 508 million by December 2019, and 689 million by July 2020.
In April, mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower said TikTok had amassed over two billion downloads. In comparison, Facebook said in July that it had 3.51 billion monthly active users across its family of apps, up from 3.45 billion in the first quarter.
"TikTok has become a beloved part of life for people around the world because of the creativity and authenticity of our creators. Our global community is remarkable in its ability to reach millions of people, across generations," the company said in a statement. "Whether you're in Singapore, São Paolo, Stockholm or Seattle, we celebrate YOU – the creators who inspire us, the artists who launch chart-breaking albums, the brands who help us discover and connect with products we love, the communities who lift us up, and all the people who keep us laughing and dancing. Thank you for making this journey so special."
The milestone comes after TikTok was nearly banned from the U.S. after being hit with an executive order from the Trump administration in August 2020. At the time, Trump claimed the app could pose a risk to national security by potentially sharing the data of its users in the United States with the Chinese government. Following the executive order, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States launched an investigation into TikTok and issued a formal order requiring ByteDance to divest the app's U.S. operations to an American company by Nov. 12.
Though TikTok and ByteDance have repeatedly denied the Trump administration's allegations and fought back against the executive order with a lawsuit, a deal was struck to sell the assets to software giant Oracle. However, that deal was later dropped after President Joe Biden took office and requested a security review. Biden proceeded to sign an executive order in June that would force some Chinese apps to take tougher measures to protect private information if they want to remain in the U.S. market.
The achievement also comes as TikTok faces a crowded field of competitors, including; Facebook's Instagram Reels, Snapchat's ‘Spotlight" feature, and Google’s YouTube Shorts.