TikTok reveals new stats in court filing—including the claim that one third of Americans use the platform

August 25, 2020, 12:19 AM UTC

The video sharing app TikTok arrived in the U.S. only two years ago, but has already become one of the most popular social platforms in the country. According to figures shared by the company this week, more than 100 million Americans use TikTok every month—nearly a third of the population.

To put that in perspective, TikTok’s user numbers may now exceed those of long-established social networks like Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat. The research firm Statista claims those companies monthly average user (MAU in industry speak) totals were 81 million, 67 million and 46 million as of last September.

Meanwhile, Statista found that Facebook-owned Instagram had 121 million MAUs as of last year. Based on TikTok’s stunning growth rate—it claims it had around 40 million users last October before topping 100 million this August—it could match or surpass Instagram by next year.

That growth, revealed in a TikTok court filing cited by CNBC, may explain why Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly sought to spread fears in Washington, DC last fall about TikTok’s Chinese ownership.

Those concerns over TikTok have led President Trump to declare the U.S. will ban the app in coming weeks unless its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, sells it to a U.S. company like Microsoft or Oracle. On Monday, TikTok sued the Trump Administration over the threatened ban.

The numbers disclosed by TikTok could not be independently verified, and have raised some eyebrows. Longtime media reporter Peter Kafka expressed skepticism on Twitter:

TikTok’s self-reported numbers may also be suspect given a new Fortune Analytics survey that found only 11% of Americans said they use TikTok.

The Fortune findings, however, are based on a survey of adults, and so do not account for the huge popularity of TikTok with teens.

Whatever the precise number of TikTok users, there is no denying the platform has become a cultural force in the U.S., affecting politics and even leading the creator of American Idol to turn to the platform in hopes of finding a new superstar.

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