Video sharing social media TikTok logo on smartphone screen
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“Brazil is a very important market for us,” reveals TikTok's community manager

Named as the most promising social network for 2020, TikTok plans to go well beyond the 1 billion users reached in 2019

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The universe of social networks is cyclical. Although Facebook group lives its reign, enjoying all the privileges of being the one who really calls the shots, a new cycle may be about to begin.

TikTok, a Chinese app that allows users to produce and share short videos, reached 1.5 billion downloads worldwide in November of 2019 and caught the market’s attention. Since that, the app is being pointed by experts as the most promising.

“TikTok is the platform to watch in 2020. After hitting one billion downloads in 2019, we can expect TikTok to continue its meteoric rise in 2020 thanks to aggressive marketing campaigns and investment in geographic expansion,” said Adrian Bravo, Socialbakers’ Regional Lead at Latin America, in an interview for LABS.

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In addition to Latin America, the app is also experiencing its booming moment in countries such as the United States, India, France, and Japan, although the company has come under international pressure after being accused of misusing its users’ data.

Recently, a California college student has accused the app in a class-action lawsuit of transferring private user data to servers in China. The company is also facing a U.S. government national security probe over concerns about data storage and possible censorship of political sensitive content. TikTok has already said that it does not store any personal data of its users, but is still being investigated in the US.

Rodrigo Barbosa, Tiktok’s Community Manager, told LABS that the company is pretty optimistic about the app’s near future, especially in Latin America. “We are excited about the extraordinary response to TikTok from our Brazilian users and very excited about 2020″. He also said that in addition to all the company’s efforts to constantly improve content features on the platform, localization will also be one of the company’s biggest bets to keep pace with international growth next year.

By 2020, Brazil is expected to become a key player in the app’s global strategy. In an interview with LABS, Barbosa talked about the app’s next steps in the country and how the company is strengthening its privacy and information security mechanisms amid privacy breach investigations in the United States. Check it out:

LABS – What is the growth potential that TikTok sees among Brazilian users? What is the importance of the Brazilian market in the company’s global strategy?

Rodrigo Barbosa – In 2018, TikTok was one of the most downloaded apps globally. Since its launching in Brazil, TikTok has received an overwhelming response from users who want to join a community of similar idea creators on a platform where they have happy, fun and positive experiences.

Brazil is a very important market for us and TikTok’s popularity continues to increase in the country. We love Brazilian users because they are one of the funniest and most creative of all.

Since it is the largest population in Latin America, TikTok has a huge potential to allow more Brazilians to show their talent and creativity as well as participate in many exciting challenges in the app. Our focus is growth by engaging our creators, introducing more diverse content, and continuing to strengthen our local presence.

LABS – After the rise of influencers’ marketing strategies, what potential does TikTok see in content creation partnerships with digital influencers for brands?

Charli D’Amelio, a 15 years old TikTok’s influencer with more than 12 million followers on the platform. Photo: TikTok’s screenshot/Business Insider

Rodrigo Barbosa – TikTok offers countless potential business opportunities for brands and creators. Many of our popular creators already ensure a variety of brand opportunities through our platform. At the moment, we’re still exploring different monetization opportunities for brands and creators, testing different formats and possibilities with our primary focus on enhancing the product and providing the best app experience.

ALSO READ:From Kylie Jenner to Whinderson Nunes: the key role of Digital Influencers in Latin America

It is important to note that TikTok is a very unique platform. In TikTok, users are not used to the usual marketing campaigns. When popular TikTok creators collaborate with brands on the platform, you see them embed the brand in their videos, but on their own terms, using what they know will resonate with their audience and represent who they are, authentically. It is another kind of communication, much more genuine.

LABS – According to Socialbakers, TikTok is the platform that will take off in 2020. What trends and strategies will the company bet on next year?

Rodrigo Barbosa – We are working closely with our creators and partners to create a fun, positive and wide community. We will continue to release new, fun and exciting features that reflect our users’ needs, and provide the tools and resources for users to create better and higher quality content.

In addition, we have a robust localization strategy that encourages users to create relevant content for local culture and trends. Our operations teams ensure TikTok provides strong community support for creativity and discovery for our local users.

LABS – After surpassing Instagram’s total downloads number and encourage the creation of Lasso, Facebook’s app made to compete with TikTok, what explains the platform’s huge success and what are the biggest challenges on the TikTok horizon?

Facebook’s Lasso new app, created to be TikTok’s main competitor. Photo: Lasso

Rodrigo Barbosa – The personalized curatorship of video recommendations for each user, based on their particular viewing preferences, ensures users receive an effortless, engaging and tailored viewing experience, and help our creators – popular or not – get discovered by new and global audiences.

TikTok is the most democratic and comprehensive platform

Rodrigo Barbosa, Tiktok’s Community Manager

In addition, our innovative, easy-to-use in-app video editing and capture tools allow users to quickly edit and share their authentic everyday moments, which is especially important for today’s mobile generation.

TikTok is a platform where authenticity and sincerity prevail. At TikTok, ordinary people express themselves creatively, in unique ways that represent who they really are. It is a very positive community where there are no expectations about people, you are free to be your authentic self.

We will continue to focus on enhancing our product to maintain our leadership and delighting our users with new features so they can have the best app experience and support the creativity of our Brazilian users.

LABS – According to a survey by AppAnnie, which monitors mobile app downloads outside China, Android users spent 1.1 billion hours on TikTok in August, a 400% increase over the previous year. What factors explain the level of engagement the platform can generate with its users?

Rodrigo Barbosa – TikTok is a platform that allows users to express their creative ideas through their content, giving rise to highly interactive hashtags challenges and trending topics that anyone can join. It’s easy to use and instead of being asked to compare, you’re welcome to have fun with our positive community and it’s made easy through the many special effects. These are some of the qualities that make us unique.

LABS – Faced with an inquiry in the United States and with a huge base of young users, what are the main obstacles and measures that TikTok is taking regarding data security and protection, especially among underage audiences?

Rodrigo Barbosa – Promoting a safe and positive app environment is our top priority at TikTok. We offer users a range of privacy controls and settings and have implemented a combination of policies, technology, and moderation strategies to address inappropriate content or accounts and ending accounts that violate our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines.

Promoting a safe and positive app environment is our top priority at TikTok

Rodrigo Barbosa, Tiktok’s Community Manager

Through our several privacy settings released, users are allowed to:
• Choose a private account that allows the user to approve/deny all; followers and restrict uploaded content and incoming messages to approved followers only;
• Enable controls on who can post, comment on your videos, etc;
• Remove a follower or permanently block a user;
• Access account’s reports in the app.

The app includes age restriction measures at signup and we have a rating of over 12 years not only on the app but also on Play Store, which allows parents to simply lock it from the phone of underage users using parental controls on their mobile device.

Through our TikTok Safety Center, we offer a library of educational resources for users and their families, such as a series of safety blogs, where we provide tips on online safety, bullying, and other resources.

As we continue to nourish our growing and diverse global community, we will continue to launch new tools and initiatives to support a positive and secure app environment where users can show their creativity and have fun.