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As part of an ongoing legal battle with the United States government, TikTok has revealed its total number of active users for the first time ever. 

The hugely popular social app has been dominating the top charts of app stores for months, though it was never clear exactly how many people were using the app regularly. 

In a new court filing as part of the company’s lawsuit against the US government, however, TikTok shared data about its daily active and monthly users.

Active US Users

TikTok receives as many as 100 million active users in the United States every month, with 50 million users returning to the site every day. 

According to the company’s filing, that number represents an 800% increase since January of 2018.

Here are some major milestones in TikTok’s growth over the past few years:

  • 11 million monthly US users in 2018
  • 27 million monthly US users in 2019
  • 91 million monthly US users in June 2020

Since June, the app says it has increased to finally reach 100 million active monthly users from the US.

Active Global Users

In addition to revealing the company’s active US users, TikTok disclosed its total number of downloads and active users around the world. 

In total, TikTok’s app has been downloaded more than 2 billion times. 

As of July 2020, the company is seeing 700 million active users around the world each month. 

These highlights help show the overall growth of the app around the world:

  • 54 million monthly active users in January 2018
  • 271 million monthly active users in December 2018
  • 507 million monthly active users in December 2019

While these numbers are certainly impressive compared to most social networks, TikTok still lags far behind Facebook’s 2.7 billion global active users each month. 

Why TikTok Is Revealing This Now

While TikTok has steadily become one of the biggest online platforms around – especially when it comes to younger internet users – the app is in danger of being banned from the United States next month. 

The Trump Administration has filed an executive order which would ban TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance,  from operating in the United States. This came following concerns the Chinese-owned app was being used to collect personal data on Americans. 

TikTok has denied these claims and is fighting the executive order in court saying the company has been denied due process. 

If the company loses in court, it is also possible TikTok’s US operations could be sold to an American company like Microsoft.

Twitter is trying to bring back the good old days when you could explore your feed chronologically.

The social platform announced it has changed how the option to “Show the best Tweets first” function, removing the “In case you missed it” and recommended Tweets from people users aren’t following.

By stripping all this away, it leaves users with a pure, reverse-chronological feed from people they are following.

“We’ve learned that when showing the best Tweets first, people find Twitter more relevant and useful. However, we’ve heard feedback from people who at times prefer to see the most recent Tweets,” reads the company’s statement. “Our goal with the timeline is to balance showing you the most recent Tweets with the best Tweets you’re likely to care about, but we don’t always get this balance right.”

Since the release of the default algorithmic feed in early 2016, many users have been relying on workarounds to access their feed in a chronological way. Unfortunately for those users, Twitter has recently been limiting the amount of access available to third-party developers, restricting the possibility for plug-ins or automated tools for accessing a chronological timeline.

That led to the past few days when things reached something of a boiling point. A trick to get the algorithmic feed from user Emma Kinema went viral with more than 15,000 retweets and almost 40,000 likes.

While Twitter says it has been working on this update for some time, the tweet helped underscore the demand for a simple way to access a chronological feed without all the “curated” content that Twitter had been including.

The change to how the “Show best Tweets first” option works is a temporary solution according to the company, which maintains that many users still prefer the algorithmic feed. In the meantime, it is working on a more accessible way to easily switch back and forth between “Tweets that are most relevant for you and a timeline of the latest Tweets.”

The company says it will launch within a few weeks.

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The magic number for Twitter appears to be 140. The social network built its platform around 140 character tweets, and now it is taking a similar approach with its video service by limiting videos to 140 seconds, according to a recent announcement.

Twitter has allowed users to share videos on its network since last year, but the videos have been limited to 30-seconds maximum until now. The only exception was for a select number of advertisers who could post videos up to 10 minutes long. Now, users are getting a taste of that creative freedom with videos that go slightly beyond 2 minutes long.

The change will also be having an impact on the Twitter-owned Vine, which is known for looping 6-second-long micro-videos. Now, Vines can be used to preview or promote twitter videos which can be viewed by clicking the new “Watch more” button.

According to the company’s announcement, video tweets have gone up by over 50% since the start of this year and these new changes will allow more flexibility for users.

Along with this news, Twitter also announced that iOS and Android users are getting a new viewing mode which shows Vines or Twitter videos in a full-screen mode along with suggested videos.

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The algorithmic timeline is starting to take over.

For the longest time, the algorithmic timeline was a defining characteristic of Facebook, while sites like Twitter and Instagram used chronologic timelines to keep people up to date as things happened in real time. However, Twitter made the controversial decision to implement an algorithmic timeline earlier this year and Instagram has officially announced they will be making the change next month.

Of course, this isn’t a total surprise. The Facebook-owned platform was bound to implement the algorithmic timeline sooner or later. In March, Instagram started testing an algorithmic which sorts user’s feed based on their interests and activity instead of sorting feeds by the most recent posts.

The announcement of the algorithm tests prompted a collective panic attack among many who bemoaned the loss of one of Instagram’s defining features and worried their posts would be seen by fewer people. However, Instagram says switching to an algorithmic timeline will actually increase exposure for posts, especially from influencers and brands.

According to the photo-and-video social platform, people miss 70% of the posts from people they follow when they use a chronologic timeline. The company says their tests showed the new timeline increases exposure and engagement, which is a win-win for users and brands.

“We found that people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way,” Instagram wrote in a company blog post announcing the official rollout.

Instant Articles

Facebook is bringing its Instant Articles to all developers and content producers. The social media platform has been slowly testing its feature, which allows publishers to share content on Facebook mobile that is fast-loading and easy to read.

During Facebook’s F8 conference, the company announced that publishers of any size or kind can now publish via Instant Articles while also sharing some statistics showing how Instant Articles have been performing so far.

According to Facebook’s data, Instant Articles leads to

  • 20% more clicks on links to content
  • 70% reduced likelihood of abandoning content once clicking on it.
  • 30% more shares compared to the average mobile web articles.

Instant Articles are Facebook’s response to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages and other fast-loading content platforms that streamline pages to ensure they load almost instantaneously on mobile devices. Facebook’s Instant Articles are unique though, because they also allow publishers to control ad placements within their content.

Publishers can even publish native ads as Instant Articles, which are distinguished from traditional content through unique styling options and the ability to add your company’s logo.

“Facebook’s goal is to connect people to the stories, posts, videos or photos that matter most to them,” the company says. “Opening up Instant Articles will allow any publisher to tell great stories, that load quickly, to people all over the world. With Instant Articles, they can do this while retaining control over the experience, their ads and their data.”

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Instagram is breaking away from the model it helped pioneer by extending videos from the standard 15-second length to a full 60 seconds. The company made its name by taking advantage of the trend for micro-length videos similar to Vine’s 7-second length, but it is now stretching its legs with longer videos.

Instagram says it is making the change in order to “bring you fun, flexible and creative ways to create and watch video on Instagram.”

Of course, the new video length limits won’t be turning Instagram into YouTube all of a sudden. The extended limit simply allows people to latch onto longer and more diverse stories.

The longer clips will hopefully spur increased engagement for the company who is currently seeing record low levels of user engagement. Despite this drop in engagement, Instagram says the amount of time spent watching videos on the platform has increased over 40% over the past 6 months.

Along with the change to video lengths, Instagram also announced that iOS users are once again able to create videos out of multiple clips from the camera roll. Both new features have already begun rolling out for users and will be available for everyone in the coming months.

Of course, along with longer videos comes longer ads on Instagram, which should make marketers and businesses who use the platform happy. Longer ads translate into more opportunities to tell engaging stories and catch the attention of your audience.

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Since the launch of polls on Twitter in October, the feature has been a hit. The company recently announced users have cast over 1.7 billion votes to date, and now Twitter is improving the feature by allowing users to set how long they want their polls to last.

When polls were launched, they came with a default lifespan of 24 hours. While this may work for some, a full day can be a long time to expect people to stay interested in one of your Tweets. Now, users can customize their polls to run for much shorter or longer than previously.

Users can now tweak their polls to run anywhere from just 5 minutes to 7 days, allowing you to get instant results or a more comprehensive response.

The move to bolster polls on Twitter couldn’t come at a better time. The feature has been widely adopted and users seem excited to participate. While the change isn’t likely to completely stop Twitter’s stock price from freefalling, it could help please users who are still disgruntled over a rumored upcoming feature which would allow users to share long-form posts on the platform known for its 140 character limit.

Creating a poll works as it always has. The only difference is users will now see a tiny clock icon near the tweet button, which allows you to quickly establish how long you want a poll to run.

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Social media marketing is a great way to connect with your audience and raise awareness for your business, but getting started can be difficult. Every social network has its quirks and kinks to manage and you can’t use the same recipe for success across all platforms.

That’s why Instagram is launching a new official account, dedicated solely to sharing business tips and case studies to help inspire your marketing and advertising on the popular social photo platform.

The aptly titled @instagramforbusiness launched yesterday, starting with a showcase of Ben & Jerry’s, a company that has been marketing itself on Instagram since the platforms very early days in 2011.

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Instagram says business has always been an essential part of Instagram from its very start, and it expects even more to follow suit following the launch of Instagram ads.

In the future, the company will be sharing content through the account designed to inspire and motivate marketing and advertising efforts on Instagram. Here’s what you can expect to see shared on the new account:

“Each week, we’ll run exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories that inspire, inform and showcase the work done by three important groups in our business community from all around the world—brands, small businesses and creative agencies.”

In the coming week, the account will be sharing stories from a local Chicago florist called Flowers for Dreams and New York creative agency BBDO.

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While Facebook users have been able to share animated GIDs on Facebook since this spring, businesses and other Page owners have been left out in the rain. Now, Facebook is testing the animated image format with a small selection of Pages, suggesting the feature may be available to all Pages in the near future.

As reported by TechCrunch, Wendy’s and Coca-Cola’s Brazilian brand Kuat unveiled the small test by posting GIFs yesterday.

Facebook has since confirmed that a small number of Pages have been given the ability to post GIFs as an experiment, saying in an email:

“GIF’s can be a fun and compelling way to communicate, so we’ve started testing GIF support in posts and boosted posts for a small percentage of Facebook Pages. We will evaluate whether it drives a great experience for people before rolling it out to more Pages.”

As with posting GIFs on personal profiles, GIFs are posted on Facebook by pasting in a link from a third-party source such as Giphy, Imgur, or Tumblr. They will still not be displayed if directly uploaded into the Facebook platform.

Faceboo LikesIn the next few weeks, you are likely to lose at least a couple likes on your Facebook Page. It isn’t a sign people are losing interest in your brand however. Facebook has just announced they will stop including likes from memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts in the totals for likes on Pages.

The company issued the warning in a blog post yesterday, saying the move will help give businesses more accurate information about the people following their Page and improve ad targeting efficiency.

As the post explains:

Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page likes as a result of this update. It’s important to remember, though, that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.

According to Facebook, Page owners should not expect big drops. The average Pages should only lose a few followers, but any Pages who have paid for Likes or used other artificial means of inflating their total may see substantially larger losses.

Facebook is also warning Page administrators with an alert within Insights: