Pakistan’s social media scorecard 2022: The rise of TikTok

With 39 million downloads last year, TikTok maintains supremacy over Facebook that lags behind by more than 7 million

TikTok, the popular Chinese short-video sharing app, continued to top the charts with the most number of downloads in 2022 in Pakistan, outperforming Meta-owned Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger by a big margin, data from analytics firm SensorTower revealed.

With 39 million downloads in the previous year, TikTok maintained its supremacy over Facebook, which lagged behind by more than 7 million while Snapchat ranked third on the list with nearly 30 million downloads showing a growth of 51.26% compared to 2021.

The Chinese-owned app recorded a massive 49.43% rise while Facebook was up by 7.66%.

Meta platforms cumulatively were downloaded over 118.8 million times up from 96.6 million — a growth of 22.98% from the previous year.

Meanwhile, Twitter — once a popular social media app among journalists, celebrities, and notables — continues to decline, especially after the takeover of the Califronia-based tech giant by Tesla owner Elon Musk last year.

It was downloaded by 6 million times by the users and ranked 13th on the list of the most downloaded social media apps followed by Bigo Live (8.99 million) and Likee (7.3 million).

Why TikTok?

Shedding light on TikTok's rise, member Meta Oversight Board and digital rights activist Nighat Dad said this platform offered the users, importantly to generation Z, things which others could not such as different filters like making feel good about themselves.

Dad added that this made it difficult for other platforms to compete with TikTok.

“Specifically in Pakistan, what I have seen is that this platform resonates with the working class. If you see 70% of our population lives in rural areas and a number of people among them cannot read and write but they can visualise their emotions, feelings, and their talent. This is what TikTok offers to them. they do not have to read or write English, they can be who they are in their language and in their origin."

“We can see that someone from any village working as per their surroundings such as working in homes as a maid is getting recognition on the basis of their content. The consumption and users of the platform resonate with each other that's why it is convenient for working calls to use this platform in their own language and content and get famous.”

However, Dad disagrees with the perception that Meta platforms are a thing of the past.

“They are making changes, taking into Metaverse, they have introduced, for instance. They are doing things such as looking into Metaverse 10 years down the line. All these platforms which came at the time of millennials feel challenged to make compatibility with generation Z.”

Global trends

Commenting on the data, SensorTower’s Mobile Insights Strategist, Stephanie Chan said: “TikTok maintained its position as the most downloaded and highest-grossing app worldwide in 2022.”

She, however, noted “significant upheaval” towards the end of the year.

“Adoption of Twitter alternatives — such as Mastodon — climbed rapidly in the following weeks, but time will tell whether or not those platforms will retain their new users,” Chan said.

“We also saw social media giants take their cue from newcomer BeReal, which is known for its dual-camera feature and its timed notifications to post,” she added