According to Cloudflare, an IT security company, TikTok has surpassed Google as the most popular place on the internet for users to be.
The rankings changed in February, March, and June this year. TikTok has been number one since August.
Last year Google was first and other giant companies like TikTok, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Netflix were in the top 10.
Cloudfare said it tracks data using its tool Cloudflare Radar, which monitors web traffic.
The pandemic is discussed as being the main reason for TikTok becoming popular as it is great entertainment for people stuck at home. By July this year, TikTok had been downloaded more than three billion times, according to the data company Sensor Tower.
The social network is owned by a Chinese company called Bytedance and it has more than one billion and counting active users across the world. In China, to comply with the country’s censorship rules, the app is called Douyin, and runs on a different network.
Douyin was originally released in September 2016. In China, people under 14 cannot use the app for more than 40 minutes a day.
TikTok was launched internationally in 2018, after merging with another Chinese social media service, Musical.ly. In 2019, it garnered a temporary ban in India, a US counterintelligence
investigation, and a record £4.3m fine after Musical.ly was found to have knowingly hosted content published by underage users. Last year TikTok was forced to deny it is controlled by the Chinese government.
Theo Bertram, TikTok’s head of public policy for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said it would not give any data to China if it was demanded.
There is content related to comedy, dance, and politics on the app.
In the UK, the most popular creator is make-up artist @abbyroberts with 17.4 million followers. This year @Francis.Bourgeois, with 1.6 million followers, quit his job to become a full-time trainspotter because of his viral videos at railway stations talking about trains and cheering them as they pass.
Food videos are also quite popular here. In the US, a new food delivery service called TikTok Kitchen will launch in March. This will allow people to order dishes originally created in viral videos.
The menu will be based on the app’s most viral food trends and will include courses like the baked feta pasta which was ranked the most searched dish of 2021 by Google.
TikTok Kitchen is being co-founded by Robert Earl, who owns the US food outlets Planet Hollywood, Buca di Beppo and Bertucci’s.
He said about 300 TikTok restaurants are planned across the country for the launch, with more than 1,000 expected by the end of 2022. TikTok Kitchen will operate out of many of the restaurants belonging to the chains owned by Mr. Earl.