The recent $5.7m settlement between TikTok and the US Federal Trade Commission was the biggest ever fine in a child-privacy case. But the amount pales next to the amount TikTok’s parent company Bytedance lost in 2018, according to a report by tech site The Information. It claims that Bytedance’s losses were $1.2bn last year, after making a slim profit in 2017.
“Last year, the company’s revenue, mainly from advertising in China, more than tripled to about $7.2 billion, according to the people familiar with the figures,” it reported. “So far, though, ByteDance’s international launch of its apps has had limited success. The company spent heavily on aggressive marketing to promote TikTok and other apps abroad. On Google ads alone, ByteDance spent more than $300 million last year.” Oof!
The report goes on to say that while TikTok has become one of the most popular apps in the US for downloads “the number of people who actively use the app is far less impressive”.