As We're Told That No New Social Media App Can Make It, TikTok Surpasses Facebook Downloads & YouTube Watch Time

from the huh, look at that dept

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.

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Companies: facebook, tiktok, youtube

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Comments on “As We're Told That No New Social Media App Can Make It, TikTok Surpasses Facebook Downloads & YouTube Watch Time”

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47 Comments
ECAsays:

Catchup?

I wonder(not really) where all the competition went?
There USED to be tons and tons.
There used to be Tons that were Free to access for the consumer.

Anything that had music or Video had to Fight back with the RIAA/MPAA and a few others.
There were places on the old net to share anything and everything, and even most of that is paywalled. The Big corps couldnt handle going thru a Free environment and and trying to TAG anon’ people they couldnt trace.

It used to be, fairly free to create a site. They want to make it so you Cant, unless you Pay, and if you sell anything, they want the pennies in profit.

For something that was basically Free in the first place, its getting rather expensive. Like the creator of Toilet paper, you didnt need it, but it was convenient.

Anonymoussays:

TikTok filled in the spot that Vine left after it died, and started expanding from there. TikTok only became a thing because something else that was huge at the time died and gave it room to grow.

Seems to me like all this proves is that the only way to become a major player is to wait for one company to fuck up so bad that they die off, and then take its place.

TaboTokasays:

Beating down a dead horse doesn't make it any less dead

Perhaps even more noteworthy is another report noting that TikTok has overtaken YouTube in average watch time in both the US and UK.

Everyone has different motivations, of course, but the fact that I have to wade through preroll ads (sometimes more than one, sometimes unskippable) for EVERY DAMN VIDEO PLAY, makes me less likely to watch stuff on Youtube.

Ghost of Quibi, I have about a 5-10 minute tolerance for any random video. It seems vids on YouTube are getting longer (I wish the wadsworth parameter still worked) and less-enticing.

William Nullsays:

You are strawmaning.

TikTok is not Facebook or YouTube. You can’t compare it with that. The closest thing to TikTok, Vine, had closed down a long time ago after being bought by Twitter. Have you seen any site that, from functional standpoint, is just like Facebook or YouTube succeeding lately? Me neither. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are a bunch of pretenders in that space (Minds, Bitchute, Oddyssee and Rumble spring to mind – kinda telling that only the first one is Facebook-like, huh?), but they don’t have YouTube or Facebook numbers.

THIS is what we mean by "no new social media app can make it".

Anonymoussays:

TikTok Has A Couple Drops Of Secret Sauce

One of the keys to TikTok’s runaway success is a general disregard for the rules of the DMCA. While the DMCA could use a lot of revisions it’s still the rules Youtube and Facebook try really hard to follow. TikTok on the other hand is based heavily around musical supplementation. All of the early advertising and suggested uses for TikTok were short-form lip sync videos to popular songs. To this day lip syncing is still a huge part of the identity and it’s hard to lip sync without popular music.

Anyway my point is that TikTok give people something they can’t find elsewhere, ignorance of the DMCA, this always comes to an end though. Once TikTok cracks down as hard as Facebook on copyright enforcement TikTok will fizzle out and be replaced by something similar that ignores the DMCA.

Anonymoussays:

What makes tik Tok different is its got built in editing functions, it has licensed music so anyone can use any music or duet over another video,
use a few seconds of music on YouTube you, ll get dmca notices even if you use public domain classical music
I’d you put our a short video if it’s funny or clever it can go viral and get a million views
Young people like pop music and easy to use apps so of course tik Tok is popular
It can take years and hours of videos to build up a following on YouTube and you need to teach yourself to edit videos

Vine had millions of users it just never worked out how to make money
YouTube can’t do everything right
Eg most gamers prefer to stream live on twitch at least for gaming content

sumgaisays:

Re: Beating down a dead horse doesn't make it any less dead

^^^ Likely as not, more readers than myself will offer you a solution to those ads. I’m on Vivaldi, and that’s based on Chrome, so any Chrome extension will work. There’s a separate extension just for removing YT ads, but I found that AdGuard does the job just fine, as well as remove all manner of other cruft from websites/pages.

Samuel Abramsays:

Re: You are strawmaning.

TikTok is not Facebook or YouTube. You can’t compare it with that. The closest thing to TikTok, Vine, had closed down a long time ago after being bought by Twitter. Have you seen any site that, from functional standpoint, is just like Facebook or YouTube succeeding lately? Me neither.

Your comment might as well be

Facebook is not YouTube. You can’t compare it with that. The closest thing to YouTube, RealAudio, had closed down because everyone was forced to install it and update it. Have you seen any site that, from a functional standpoint, is just Facebook succeeding lately? Me either.

And look just as myopic or have the point flown over their head.

"Why?" you ask? Because of course TikTok is not Facebook or YouTube! If it were, it wouldn’t have succeeded. Facebook already has their niche carved, as does YouTube and Twitter; if TikTok were exactly like them, it wouldn’t have been successful. The reason why you’re not getting TikTok is because you’re not young enough (neither am I, which is why I don’t subscribe to it).

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: You are strawmaning.

People want alternatives to YouTube and Facebook and Twitter that are basically “YouTube and Facebook and Twitter but leadership who actually give a shit about something other than money”. When people get pissed with the decisions that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter make, what those companies have become, that’s what they’re asking for, not something completely different altogether like TikTok.

The reason why you’re not getting TikTok is because you’re not young enough (neither am I, which is why I don’t subscribe to it).

So this leaves people older than/outside of TikTok’s demographic with no real alternatives or competition to Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, and we’re back to square one.

Anonymoussays:

Re: 'In the field of companies named Facebook only one dominates

It’s more that Mike is widening the definition so that his own argument doesn’t fall apart. TikTok is not an alternative to Facebook in the way that Facebook was an alternative to MySpace. I’m not going to be messaging my grandma through TikTok. People want alternatives and competition to the Big Tech sites that serve the same purpose as those Big Tech sites. I’d like to message my grandma on a social media site that doesn’t try to turn her into an anti-vaxxer conspiracy wingnut who thinks the election was stolen.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: 'In the field of companies named Facebook only one dominates

"I was assured that no company could possibly challenge the tech giants…"

You need to read the quiet part out loud. TikTok isn’t an american company, yet it challenges american Big Tech. So, uh, it doesn’t count because foreign business isn’t real business – it’s more of a greasy un-american conmanship operation about to be revealed as deeply monopolistic and unfair by pending antitrust investigation. Or as part of foreign intelligence and thus a risk to national security.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: 'In the field of companies named Facebook only one domin

Alternatives that avoid the problems you perceive with Facebook exist, Such as Diaspora or Mastodon, where you can choose whose moderation policies and objectives you like. You could also set up an instance restricted to family and friends.. The problem is convincing people you want to stay in touch with to use them.to use them.

A competitor to Facebook, and gaining a similarly large user base, will have similar problems.

Rockysays:

Re: Re: 'In the field of companies named Facebook only one domin

Your missing the point. The narrative pushed by some is that the current "Big Tech" is so big no new competitors can grow in their shadow which is why they need to be regulated.

Regardless how you view the alternatives to the big social media platforms, TikTok is an alternative just happens not to fit your needs but by all evidence it does fit the needs of +1 billion people.

+1 billion users on TikTok also means there is an impact in the usage of the "traditional" social media sites, just like how Facebook had an impact on MySpace. I remember distinctly sitting in the subway when Facebook was a newcomer and hearing a couple of kids talking and one was complaining that his mom wanted to friend him on MySpace and the other kid then replied that only old people uses MySpace. That conversation very accurately illustrates why new types of social media can grow in spite of the existing "old peoples" social media.

You are asking for alternatives, but by your own words you want something that’s almost exactly the same to what you are currently using – and that will not exist in the foreseeable future because that niche is already filled.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: 'In the field of companies named Facebook only one domin

"TikTok is not an alternative to Facebook"

Actually, you’re right here. Most Tok Tok users I know ALSO have a Facebook account and use them both regularly.

But, of course, the fact that most people use multiple social media sites at the same time is even more damaging to the monopoly claims than you trying to pretend they don’t actually compete.

"I’d like to message my grandma on a social media site that doesn’t try to turn her into an anti-vaxxer conspiracy wingnut who thinks the election was stolen."

Then try teaching her how to evaluate sources, curate feeds and recognise con artists instead of expecting others to do the work for you. Lots of people got turned into raving lunatics by Fox News before Facebook was popular, but I don’t remember people making the same demands of

My family do fine without being right-wing lunatics while using Facebook and its numerous significant competitors. What’s the problem with your family that leaves them unable to do so?

Stephen T. Stonesays:

I…but…are you saying you’ve literally never watched a YouTube video where the person in the video talks about who’s sponsoring the video? I mean, if you really need an example, the first 8 seconds and about the last 90 seconds of Team Four Star’s “Beastars (S1) in 8 Minutes)” are sponsor segments. If your adblocker alone can skip those segments? It’s a better adblocker than literally all the rest. But if it can’t? That’s what that extension I linked to can do.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: 'In the field of companies named Facebook only one d

"The narrative pushed by some is that the current "Big Tech" is so big no new competitors can grow in their shadow which is why they need to be regulated."

Which, I’ll always maintain is a great sign that people are being controlled by corporate interests. The term "Big Tech" is currently meaningless, because instead of being applied to tech companies that are big, such as Intel, ORACLE, AT&T, Cisco, Dell, Salesforce, etc., it’s only directed at a handful of consumer-facing services. That suggests people are using language to attack a handful of services they don’t like, not that they have an actual problem with competitiveness in the tech sector.

"You are asking for alternatives, but by your own words you want something that’s almost exactly the same to what you are currently using"

Yeah, that’s where the argument falls apart. MySpace and Facebook did very different things, even though they were quite similar at the core. In fact, the reason why Facebook took off is arguably because it did less than MySpace – you didn’t have features that encouraged you to add thousands of random strangers instead of people you actually knew IRL, you weren’t bombarded by hideous graphics and obnoxious sound clips when visiting someone’s page, etc. People often used both, but then they stopped using MySpace when it because clear where all their friends were.

Same here – TikTok provides some elements that facebook do, and not others, but it’s down to users to decide what’s best for them. There’s nothing to force them to choose one, they can use both simultaneously quite happily. But, they are competing services even if they don’t have a one-to-one feature set match.

sumgaisays:

Re: Re: Re: 'In the field of companies named Facebook only one d

[Teach] her how to evaluate sources, curate feeds and recognize con artists instead of expecting others to do the work for you.

THIS!

My surest bug-a-boo is that both people in general and companies in general act as if the other is all-knowing and all-experienced in the ways of security and nuisance avoidance. I can see someone not wanting to become a programmer, they’ve got other things to do with their lives. But come on, does it really require a doctoral degree to learn that some problems don’t look like nails, and there are other tools in the box beside that bleepin’ hammer.

sumgaisays:

Re:

Sadly, the Chrome Extension Store has gone bananas, requiring that one sign in (or sign up in the first place) in order to download (add) an extension. Good thing I’ve already gotten the extensions I need, ’cause giving Google any personal data ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime.

But Gawd help me if I ever crash, or install a new setup on another ‘puter, that’d be the very definition of finding myself in deep kimchee.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re:

"Y’all keep forgetting I’m immortal and been watching humanity slipping back towards the cesspool they were born out of."

n00b.

I watched you lot crawl out of that slimy patch and grow legs and already then I thought no good would come of it.

And sho’ nuff, politicians were more honest about fundraising back in the 17th century but that was mainly because the audience was a lot more accepting of stuff people have lately come to realize really ain’t that acceptable.
Like fundraising while promising a slave-buyers subsidy, getting rid of colored people hanging around good neighborhoods, tossing the jews an’ chinks outta town. Having all the homeless tossed into debtor’s jail or conscripted. That sorta stuff.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: You are strawmaning.

"All corporations only care about money."

True enough but the issue today is that they try to do away with most of the reasons people give them that money.

"The customer is King" used to be what major retail lived by. "Great service, instantly" another dead concept. "Lifetime warranty" is still a thing for a very very narrow range of products.

People have grown used to not using their wallet for voting power – or the market they’re in has so few competitors the choice is to settle for Least Bad or go without.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You are strawmaning.

""The customer is King" used to be what major retail lived by. "Great service, instantly" another dead concept. "Lifetime warranty" is still a thing for a very very narrow range of products."

Those were typically marketing myths however. Customer = king only goes so far, and can sometimes backfire if bowing to one type of customer puts others off. Lifetime warranty sounds great, but have you ever actually tried to claim on it?

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