By the time TikTok burst on the U.S. scene in 2017, it already had a following due to its first iteration as an app called Musical.ly. Since then, it has overcome a long list of problems—including increased pressure from legislators and copycat features from long-standing social media giants—to become one of America’s fastest-growing social media companies.
From launch to 1 billion active users, TikTok needed only 5.1 years. Only Facebook Messenger has beaten this time to 1 billion, and it had the benefit of registered Facebook users on its side. TikTok has changed quite a bit during its race to the top—both in public perception and usage.