TikTok, WeChat Rivals Surged During a Weekend of Confusion
Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake
Mobile phone users scrambled over the weekend to prepare for TikTok and WeChat's disappearance. That was before it emerged that the bans on the two China-based social apps had been delayed.
Data from third-party analytics firm Apptopia show a 181% increase in WeChat downloads compared to the prior weekend. Several other competitors in the short-form video space also saw big gains, including L.A.-based apps Triller (4x increase on the previous weekend), Clash and Byte (both over 5x).
Although TikTok was far and away the most popular in absolute terms, its weekly growth was relatively low.
Both WeChat and QQ, which many view as a WeChat replacement, hit all-time highs in U.S. daily downloads on Sunday, according to Apptopia.
Sensor Tower, another 3rd party analytics firm, told dot.LA that according to its data, Triller's rank in the U.S. iOS app store rose from 208 on Friday to 39 by Sunday. Their data also show that a cohort of TikTok competitors – Triller, Byte, Clash, New York-based Dubsmash and Singapore-based Likee – collectively saw a 204% increase in U.S. installs compared to the prior weekend. QQ saw an 850% increase.
Each data firm has their own methodologies to estimate the figures they release.
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Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.
It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.
Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.
As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?
My distractingly sweet dog, Seamus.
Photo by Tami Abdollah
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