TikTok overtakes Facebook downloads, Facebook fires back with Lasso


By Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

In September, the Chinese video app TikTok overtook Facebook in new download numbers.  According to App Annie, TikTok reached as high as the third most downloaded app in the App Store and was often the top downloaded app in the Music and Video category.

For those unfamiliar with TikTok, it’s an app similar to the now-defunct Vine, featuring short-form video. Unlike Vine, TikTok-ers are encouraged within the app to lip-sync to music within a searchable database or to upload their own audio. The default limit to the videos is 15 seconds, though it is also possible to “go live” for longer discussions with your audience.

It’s even moving into mainstream media. Here are a few examples of popular videos:

Facebook Fires Back at TikTok

A few days ago, a new app went live on the App Store — the widely-rumored Facebook TikTok-clone, Lasso. As word circulated about the new app, Lasso ranked as high as 169 for downloads according to App Annie. Since then, Lasso’s ranking has dropped slowly.

As Google Play Store user Joey Wolf said in his review of Lasso:

“[It] has potential. Videos load fast, has an innovative hashtag feature on the recommended videos page. However, Tik Tok is still king. With Tik Tok you can upload videos, lip sync to other users sounds, do duets, reactions videos, zoom by swiping up while recording, and it has a lot more content and users to work with. I don’t see a comment section on Lasso either. It’s a brand new app so we need to let Lasso grow and see if this changes. It’s not bad but it could be better — Facebook obviously rushed this one in response to Tik Tok’s skyrocketing user growth.”

An anonymous user was harsher:

“The TikTok replacement that no one asked for.”

Is Lasso a miss?

Even with casual use, it is obvious that Facebook has created a poor facsimile of TikTok. While Facebook touts the lack of video upload as a feature—no doubt hoping to spawn more spontaneous content—this decision might prove foolish in the long run. Many popular TikTok creators produce incredible videos that clearly were not products of a single take.

Facebook also launched without a large pool of content. TikTok, on the other hand, had recently absorbed the popular music video app Musical.ly, which had been around since 2015 and had many established video creators.

A concern voiced on popular product-review site ProductHunt.com is that Lasso requires a Facebook or Instagram account to register. Both of these apps require a true user identity. However, TikTok, and to a greater extent, Musical.ly, both attracted a crowd that was predominantly underage.

The true identity “feature” might reduce bullying if we’re lucky, but it could also increase the potential for stalking from a sinister element of the Internet, people attracted to children.

For now, the relatively low use of Lasso might give Facebook the time it needs to solve the glaring issues within its new app.

Have you used either app? What are your thoughts on the future of the dueling video apps?

KikiSchirrKiki Schirr is a freelance marketer and author who recently relocated from San Francisco to Blacksburg, Virginia. Kiki enjoys absorbing the tech scene and current trends. You can contact her easily through Twitter.


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