TikTok Is the Perfect Social Media — Here’s Why You Should Delete It
When an app has perfected the art of keeping you engaged — run.
TikTok is the best example of social media’s danger when it works perfectly in an imperfect world.
Today I’m going to shift from my usual AI articles to a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time; social media. This one is a bit longish but I promise you it’s worth a read.
Today I won’t be talking about models or systems that haven’t yet reached the public domain. I won’t focus on the technical side of AI. Instead, I’ll dive into its social side. The side we all interact with in our daily lives. The side that’s constantly deteriorating our well-being.
Let me introduce you to the main character of today’s issue: TikTok. Currently, the undisputed king of social media. It may not be the largest or the most profitable (ahem, Facebook) — yet. But it’s growing the fastest in history and it’s achieving its goals like no other before.
Some quick numbers: Daily use of TikTok in 2021 reached 44 min, surpassing Facebook (all-time high of 39.8 min), Instagram, and Youtube by a considerable margin. TikTok is expected to reach 1.8 billion monthly users by the end of 2022. That’s 1 in 4 people using TikTok — up from 1 in 80 just four years ago.
NYT columnist Ezra Klein gives a clear overview of TikTok’s dominance with an eye-opening sentence: “In 2021, [TikTok] had more active users than Twitter, more U.S. watch minutes than YouTube, more app downloads than Facebook, more site visits than Google.”
More. Site. Visits. Than. Google.
Competing social media companies are releasing features that copy TikTok’s design in a desperate attempt to replicate this unprecedented global phenomenon. Reels and shorts are resulting but only in part, as Instagram and YouTube don’t seem to be able to stop TikTok’s ascension.
ByteDance — TikTok’s parent company — executives must be rubbing their hands. TikTok has hit the jackpot all social media companies chase.
And that’s bad news for us.