TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms and is at the same time viewed critically by the U.S. and numerous European countries due to its alleged connection to China. This past Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew fielded questions at a congressional hearing, with some lawmakers drawing ridicule from netizens for allegedly not understanding the workings of social media apps. The question of to what extent the popular app is directly connected to the CCP is currently unanswered.
Critics of the regulatory efforts claim that the increased scrutiny of the application even though it allegedly doesn't collect more or fewer data than U.S.-based social media companies is a symptom of a new Cold War and latent sinophobia. Still, U.S. TikTok users seem to mind giving away their data for advertising less than the general public surveyed in our Statista Consumer Insights.
38 percent of survey participants using TikTok tolerate advertising on the internet in exchange for free access to certain services, four percent more than the total number of adults surveyed. Almost 15 percent of TikTok users struggle to distinguish between advertising and other content.
A data point that's particularly relevant in the context of the ongoing discussion surrounding TikTok: The usage of user data for advertising purposes. While 13 percent of respondents have no problems with companies using their data this way, the share of TikTok users claiming the same is five percentage points higher.
According to analyses by DataReportal, TikTok had an addressable ad audience older than 18 of around 113 million users in the United States at the end of 2022, the highest of any of the countries analyzed. Since the platform can be used from the age of 13, the number of users is likely significantly higher. The last official overall tally was released in September of 2021, claiming that the app broke the one-billion-user mark.