It’s said by the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in leaked audio of him, while he was describing TikTok during an all-hands meeting that almost like the Explore Tab that they have on Instagram”. But it’s not, actually TikTok represents a very new form of social entertainment that’s vastly gaining the foothold in different from the lifelogging of Instagram, where you can just take a selfie, and show something pretty, or just pan around what you’re up to. But TikToks are premeditated, the storyboarded, and very different than the haphazard style Stories on Insta.
That’s really a big reason that the Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on TikTok cast a dark shadow over the future of Facebook family of apps. Because it’s a big challenge, how world’s biggest social media can beat it, what it doesn’t understand? But Zukerberg certainly can’t ignore it. The TikTok has 640 million installs in the same period outside of China, whereas Facebook’s copycat Lasso has been installed just 425,000 times since it launched in November and TikTok has 1.4 billion total installs beyond the China to date.
Zuckerberg said about TikTok during the internal Q&A sessions, that, he mean, “TikTok” is doing well. For a while, one of the things that’s especially notable about TikTok is, and the internet landscape was a bunch of internet companies that were primarily the American companies. And along with this, there was this parallel universe of the Chinese companies, that were offering their services mostly in China. And we had Tencent who was trying to spread some of their services into Southeast Asia. Alibaba has spread a bunch of their payment services to Southeast Asia. Broadly, in terms of global expansion, that had been pretty limited, and TikTok, which is built by this company Beijing ByteDance, is really the first consumer internet product built by one of the Chinese tech giants that is doing quite well around the world. It’s starting to do well in the US, especially with young folks. It’s growing really quickly in India. I think it’s past Instagram now in India in terms of scale. So yeah, it’s a very interesting phenomenon.
And the way that we kind of think about it is: it’s married short-form, immersive video with browse. So it’s almost like the Explore Tab that we have on Instagram, which is today primarily about feed posts and highlighting different feed posts. I kind of think about TikTok as if it were Explore for stories, and that were the whole app. And then you had creators who were specifically working on making that stuff. So we have a number of approaches that we’re going to take towards this, and we have a product called Lasso that’s a standalone app that we’re working on, trying to get product-market fit in countries like Mexico, is I think one of the first initial ones. We’re trying to first see if we can get it to work in countries where TikTok is not already big before we go and compete with TikTok in countries where they are big.
We’re taking a number of approaches with Instagram, including making it so that Explore is more focused on stories, which is increasingly becoming the primary way that people consume content on Instagram, as well as a couple of other things there. But yeah, I think that it’s not only one of the more interesting new phenomena and products that are growing. But in terms of the geopolitical implications of what they’re doing, I think it is quite interesting. I think we have time to learn and understand and get ahead of the trend. It is growing, but they’re spending a huge amount of money promoting it. What we’ve found is that their retention is actually not that strong after they stop advertising. So the space is still fairly nascent, and there’s time for us to kind of figure out what we want to do here. But I think this is a real thing. It’s good.