It turns out that viral tech phenomena aren’t so, well, viral. That was one of the big takeaways from ByteDance’s 2021 financials. The Wall Street Journal reported today.

ByteDance, which owns TikTok and a range of hugely popular Chinese apps, lost more than $7 billion from its operations last year. One of the reasons was heavy investment in research and development and in marketing.

Specifically, the company spent $19.2 billion on marketing, about 31% of its $61.7 billion in total revenue. It was previously reported that TikTok was responsible for $4 billion of that revenue.

By contrast, Meta Platforms spent $14 billion on marketing last year, or 12% of its $118 billion in total revenue.

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