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TikTok follows Snap and Facebook by testing new augmented reality developer tools

TikTok follows Snap and Facebook by testing new augmented reality developer tools


Why build your own AR effects if your audience will do it for you?

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Tessellated TikTok logos against a dark background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

TikTok is testing an experimental set of developer tools that might one day let creators build augmented reality effects for the popular app.

The platform is called TikTok Effect Studio and is currently in private beta, according to a report from TechCrunch. TikTok told the publication that Effect Studio is simply an “experiment” at this stage and may not make it to a full launch.

It would, though, be a sensible product for TikTok to build. Both Snap and Facebook have their own AR developer initiatives, which encourage people to build new camera effects for their respective platforms. It seems like a streamlined way to keep your audience engaged, outsourcing the development of new effects to users who know best what they want to see.

The Effects Studio was first spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra (with a tip from Sam Schmir). You can view the sign-up page here on the web (where it’s confusingly named TikTok Effect House), but it doesn’t give anything away about what tools may actually be available in future. It will ask for your name, email, TikTok username, years of experience developing AR tools, and whether you plan to create effects for personal or business use.

The site apparently launched earlier this month, but seems it’s still very much in the early stages of development. Speaking to TechCrunch, a TikTok spokesperson gave an impressively bland and vague statement. “We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” said the spokesperson. “Currently, we’re experimenting with ways to give creators additional tools to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”

Watch this space, basically.