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TikTok’s Trump lawsuit reveals it has 689m users worldwide


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TikTok has followed through on its promise to sue President Trump’s administration over its recent executive order setting a deadline for the app’s US operations to be sold or shut down. The lawsuit includes some important new figures on TikTok’s business globally, as well as in the US.

Globally, TikTok grew from 54.8 million monthly active users in January 2018 to 271.2 million by the end of that year, and then 507.6 million by the end of 2019. As of July 2020, TikTok had 689.2 million monthly active users worldwide.

Over that same timescale, TikTok’s US userbase has grown from 11.3 million monthly active users to 91.9 million, meaning that in July – as talk of a potential ban ramped up – the country accounted for nearly 13.3% of TikTok’s global total.

The filing also includes a figure for August, revealing that TikTok has passed the 100 million monthly active users milestone in the US.

As for the lawsuit, TikTok is pushing back at the executive order aggressively, claiming that it threatens not only the 1,500 staff currently working for the company in the US, but also the prospects for 10k more jobs it plans to create in the near future.

Its announcement explains some of its arguments in greater detail, but in summary, it accuses the Trump administration of “neither providing evidence that TikTok was an actual threat, nor justification for its punitive actions”.

Talking of legal battles, TikTok is facing a new one in Vietnam that relates directly to music. Tech company VNG is suing TikTok alleging copyright infringement of tracks owned by its subsidiary Zing, including a demand for $9.5m in damages.

Reuters has the report on that, including a pithy quote from industry body the Vietnam Music Association claiming that “TikTok has introduced a very complicated business model to avoid copyright compliance in Vietnam”.

Stuart Dredge

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