Coronavirus: TikTok reports record growth as mobile use soars under lockdown
The popular video-sharing app TikTok has grown at record rates during the coronavirus pandemic, recording an all-time high number of downloads of 200 million for the first quarter of 2020, according to data gathered by Learnbonds.com.
While the coronavirus pandemic has kept consumers at home, many have turned to their mobile devices more than ever before to shop, socialize, and work. Downloads for TikTok peaked in March, with 75.5 million new downloads, a growth of around 25 percent compared to February.
The Chinese app has grown in popularity since it was made available to global audiences in 2017. Last year, TikTok recorded over half a billion app downloads at 523.5 million, with December representing the highest number of downloads for the year at 57.5 million. February was the lowest month of growth for the company, with 36 million downloads, Learnbonds.com reported.
India led the downloads for the first quarter of 2020, with 55 million new TikTok installs, representing around 27.4 percent of total downloads. Brazil was home to the second highest number of downloads, followed by the United States.
The app has come under scrutiny in the past for its privacy implications. US and UK authorities have both launched investigations into how the app is used and questioned ties to the Chinese government.
The company has also previously apologized for censoring its platform, including removing a viral video condemning Beijing’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang.
Some have turned to the social media platform for comic relief while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world.
One example of this is Dr Jason Campbell, a 31-year-old anesthesia resident physician at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital. Campbell has been posting dance videos to the platform to lift the spirts of people during the pandemic.
“When you’re in medicine, you see a lot of serious, sad things all the time,” Campbell told AFP. “And so we too need a way to remain human, stay sane, and a chance to just smile or laugh, even if it’s just five minutes out of a 12-hour day.”