Is TikTok shutting down? The short video app, known in its native China as Douyin, has faced considerable online vitriol in the US and European markets since it consumed Musical.ly in August and has also been hit by allegations it’s fuelling bullying. Now it appears to be the subject of closure rumors. A supposed screenshot of a Tweet purporting to be from the company’s US Twitter account has been circulating among some critics of the platform:
Doesn’t exactly seem legit, and there’s no trace of such a message on their account now — but there is the below Tweet, which seems aimed at those suggesting the app’s days are numbered:
#FakeNews— TikTok (@tiktok_us) October 25, 2018
— TikTok (@tiktok_us) October 25, 2018
Potentially spotting an opportunity to build some hype however, the same Twitter account dropped a cryptic message overnight in the US, only to then delete it again shortly afterwards:
All the fuss comes as TechCrunch are reporting that Facebook is plotting a TikTok rival, called Lasso, “to win back the attention of teens”. So what’s going on with TikTok? Honestly, we don’t really know. Maybe there’ll be more news at 8am PST?
Hi. No, we're not shutting down. So… any fun weekend plans?— TikTok (@tiktok_us) October 26, 2018
Hi. No, we're not shutting down. So… any fun weekend plans?
— TikTok (@tiktok_us) October 26, 2018
What we do know however, is that TikTok/Douyin’s parent company, Beijing headquartered ByteDance, just became the “world’s largest startup” thanks to 3 billion USD of funding from SoftBank, according to Bloomberg. The business publication states that the injection of money will give ByteDance a valuation of 75 billion USD, surpassing that of Uber.
Infographic: Here’s What Happens in One Minute on the Chinese Internet
Kind of feels like at this stage we should stop referring to ByteDance as a “start-up” then. But still, impressive numbers. And with that kind of funding in the bank, a shutdown of their flagship overseas product would seem like an extremely odd decision at this point, even if the rebranding of the hugely popular Musical.ly into TikTok could have been handled better.
While we wait for a possible (?) announcement from @TikTok_US, here’s some background on the explosive growth and various controversies of Douyin in China:
How Douyin (TikTok) Became the Most Popular App in the World
And a look at some of parent company ByteDance’s moves from earlier this year:
ByteDance Stakes a Claim in the War for Young China’s Attention
We highlight our top stories each week in an email newsletter that goes out every Monday - hot, fresh, and straight to your inbox.
Don't worry, we don't spam