TikTok is testing a Snapchat-style stories feature

Image: Matt Navara / Twitter

On a long enough timeline, every social media app trends to adding stories, and now it’s apparently TikTok’s turn: the popular video app is experimenting with a new stories feature. The feature was highlighted by Matt Navarra on Twitter, and a TikTok spokesperson confirmed the test in an email to The Verge.

The new feature, simply called “TikTok Stories,” appears to work similarly to other stories functions on apps like Instagram or Snapchat. Stories live in a newly added slide-over sidebar, where you’ll be able to see stories posted by accounts that you follow on TikTok for 24 hours before they’re automatically deleted. Other users will be able to react and comment on your story, too. And just like on Instagram and other platforms, you’ll also be able to tap on a user’s profile picture to load a story.

TikTok describes the feature in the app as “a new way to interact with your fans.” Users can create a new story by tapping a “create” button that’s been added to the sidebar, and they can add the usual captions, music, and text. True to TikTok’s video-first nature, it seems stories have to be videos, not still images.

“We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” a TikTok spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Verge. “Currently we’re experimenting with ways to give creators additional formats to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”

The company didn’t provide any details on how extensively it’s testing TikTok Stories, nor when (or even if) it’ll see a wider release. However, a quick search on Twitter reveals a number of TikTok users who have already gotten access to the feature.

The fact that TikTok would experiment with stories isn’t surprising. Stories have been one of the only true constants in social media, with platforms from Instagram to Facebook to Linkedin to Pinterest to Netflix to YouTube to the Xbox app replicating Snapchat’s original feature from 2013. When they work, stories are a great way to get users to interact with each other on an app, offer a new place for ads, and generally keep the feedback loop of a social media app in motion.

Stories aren’t always successful, however: just ask Twitter, which was forced to shutter its own stories clone — the creatively named Fleets — earlier this week, just eight months after it launched them, due to a general apathy toward the feature.

Comments

I get that every successful social media app has a deal with the devil contractually obligating them to add a Stories feature, but I’m sick of it at this point. I was sick of it when Instagram copied Snapchat, and when Twitter, YouTube, and everyone else did the same thing. Please just stop.

It’s funny that Snapchat didn’t sue everyone for copying this.

Why? Just why? Why do Instagram stories exist? Why did Twitter feel the need to try to add them as well? Why do I have the ability to have stories on Instagram, Facebook and Facebook Messenger and they’re all different?

Can we just stop with this nonsense please? It’s like round profile pictures, everyone copied those too and they’re also terrible.

As cynical as it was, Instagram copying Snapchat stories was the one time Facebook’s relentless copying efforts paid off. I would guess that more people use Instagram stories than Snapchat stories now. Everyone else tried to replicate that success with limited success.

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