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What are TikTok Notes? New photo app could compete with Instagram

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Top line

A photo and text-sharing app that appears eerily similar to the Instagram platform is on the way from TikTok, the company said some usersThis signals another step in the copycat wars between two of the country's most used social media platforms.

Important facts

While trying to share photo posts on the most video-watching app TikTok, some users have reported a pop-up notification informing them that photos will also be published on a “coming soon” platform called TikTok Notes (with an option to opt-out) . cross-platform sharing).

A website called “notes.tiktok.com” is currently live and has a non-working “Open App” button that encourages Polaroid-like posts with a still image and caption, similar to the posts that once dominated Instagram was purchased by Facebook parent company Meta in 2012.

TikTok told the BBC that it is working on a “dedicated area” for photos and text, but has not yet finalized the design of the Notes app or confirmed a release date.

Modern Retail, an online news source for the retail industry, has reported that TikTok recently encouraged brands to increase their use of the Photo Carousel feature, which allows users to scroll through multiple still images, and promises to increase these posts by almost three times as many comments and 2.6 receive times as many shares as video posts, on average.

Karen North, a digital social media expert and professor at the University of Southern California, told Forbes that a photo-sharing trend doesn't necessarily mean that videos aren't still the most important element in content creation, but that TikTok also strive to take advantage of this A large percentage of people do not feel comfortable recording videos or being filmed.

And yet photos aren't the only type of content TikTok wants to expand into – the brand also wants to support text posts similar to X (formerly known as Twitter) and Meta-owned threads, and is experimenting with 30-minute videos reminiscent of YouTube, reported TechCrunch.

Crucial quote

“I suspect that no one perceives this as the end of the video, but rather as a 'what more can we do?' from TikTok,” North said. “You search the world for what fascinates people and think, 'Can we just own everything?'”

Big number

78%. That's how many Americans ages 18 to 29 said they use Instagram, according to a Pew Research survey in January. This makes it the country's most popular social media app among adults under 30. Snapchat was the second most popular app, with 65% of respondents reporting their use, followed by TikTok at 62%.

Important background

Experimenting with an app that appears to be similar to Instagram's main feed is the latest step in a back-and-forth that has seen major social media platforms continually integrate each other's features. Instagram, for example, introduced the “Reels” feature in 2020 to encourage users to use its short-video platform instead of rival Tiktok, and TikTok introduced a Stories feature similar to those of Instagram and Snapchat in 2022. Platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and even Spotify have adopted their own versions of TikTok's “For You Page” (which recommends posts to users based on an algorithm that predicts their interests) and its endlessly scrolling video format. The constant copying has drawn the ire of some, but North says it's nothing new. “You could trace this back to Friendster and FourSquare,” she said.

tangent

A TikTok photo app could be hugely successful because the brand has created a safe, nonjudgmental space to share content, North said. After Instagram launched in 2010, the app became “very judgmental,” turning into an overly curated space where posts were liked or disliked based on their artistic merit, leaving some people feeling unsure about what they were posted in the app. This sentiment gave rise to platforms like Snapchat and BeReal, which encourage people to post recent snaps, and in turn had an impact on TikTok. “The people who make a lot of money post quality entertainment, but there's also a culture where other people jump in and just be themselves,” Smith said. “People are not criticized for singing or dancing badly, they are celebrated for it. This is the magic dust of TikTok.”

further reading

BBCTikTok is testing a new photography app to rival Instagram
TechCrunchTikTok's Instagram competitor is expected to be called TikTok Notes | TechCrunchMORE FROM FORBESThe US is taking a big step towards banning TikTokMORE FROM FORBESHow the TikTok Shop Became the Most Popular New Dollar Store on the Internet