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TikTok Social Media EU

TikTok reveals 150m monthly users in Europe, here’s how it stacks up to other platforms


By Chris Sutcliffe, Senior reporter

February 17, 2023 | 5 min read

TikTok has revealed its active user count in the EU for the first time. How does it stack up to its competitors?

TikTok styling of graphic depicting a magnifying glass

TikTok is facing increasing scrutiny from the EU under the Digital Services Act / Adobe Stock

TikTok has 150 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the EU. It’s the first time the company has publicly broken down the number of its active users in the territory, , prompted by the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) allowing for the direct comparison to rival social networks.

Compared to Facebook’s 255 million average monthly active users and Instagram’s 250 million MAUs for the last six months of the year, per Meta's own reports, TikTok is behind. Twitter claims to have 100 million MAUs in the EU.

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While it hasn’t broken out its user numbers for the EU specifically, Snap revealed it has 750 million monthly active users globally, 150 million of whom are in the US. Its EU figures are projected to be around the same.

The DSA applies to any company with over 45 million users, and requires them to undergo risk management and mitigation activities, in addition to assuming greater responsibility for content posted by their users. It also makes them subject to independent external auditing, which is set to have ramifications for platforms like TikTok which have previously kept figures like the MAUs private. The same will also be true for Snap.

The sentiment around TikTok in Europe is in flux, with French president Emmanuel Macron a noted critic of the Bytedance-owned social network and supporter of the US government employee ban on having the app on their phones. Over 5,000 people now work for TikTok in 10 countries across the region: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

As its users grow, the company is planning to launch a third data center in the EU – not in Ireland – and is set to begin user data migration in the second quarter of the year. It is in service of user privacy and is likely a bid to stave off any future regulation from the EU. Revealing the plans, it stressed that it is continuing to “reduce employee access to European user data; minimizing data flows outside of Europe; and storing European user data locally.”

A TikTok spokesperson said: “At TikTok, we know that creativity and expression are personal. And so is privacy. That’s why we empower our community with a range of controls to manage their online presence and decide the TikTok experience that’s right for them.

“We also know that when someone joins our community, they’re entrusting us with their information. We take great care to safeguard that information and educate our community on the privacy and security tools available to them.”

Creative considerations

Much of its success in Europe has been predicated on the rise of influencers on the platform. TikTok highlighted the individual creators that outperform such as Benjy Kusi who it said has “built a community of over 200k followers (5m likes) on TikTok”, with content based around the topics of inclusion and wellbeing.

A TikTok spokesperson said: “We are always looking at ways to enhance our community's experience and regularly test new features that inspire creativity, bring joy and innovate the TikTok experience in markets around the world. Brands on TikTok have found a creative outlet to authentically connect with audiences, and we're excited to experiment with new commerce opportunities that can enable our community to discover and engage with what they love.”

Meanwhile, TikTok is still grappling with the increased regulatory scrutiny that comes with being a ‘very large platform’ as defined by the EU. The platform is facing enforcement by the DSA and closer attention is being paid to how the platform treats its user data in the near future.

TikTok Social Media EU

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