TikTok to Unveil Photo-Sharing App Soon

Social media app TikTok has announced plans to unveil a photo-sharing app in the near future. The Chinese company is currently locked in a fierce battle with Instagram to capture Gen-Z’s attention and has given the Meta subsidiary a serious run for its money in recent years.

Some users of the extremely popular but controversial social media app have begun receiving notifications that their photos will soon be stored in a separate app called TikTok Notes. TikTok attracted hundreds of millions of users, thanks to its nigh-addictive, short-form content a few years after it launched internationally, and the Chinese company is now looking to muscle into Instagram’s main market: photos.

Although Instagram also has a popular “reels” feature that allows users to post and view video content, TikTok reigns supreme in the short-form video segment and currently has one billion active users worldwide with more than three billion downloads since its 2016 launch. Instagram has also been supremely successful at carving out a market in the photo-sharing segment with a whopping 2.4 billion active users across the globe, or one-fourth of the internet’s most active users every month.

Now that it’s essentially conquered the short-form, video-sharing segment in less than a decade, TikTok seems to be taking the fight directly to Instagram’s doorstep.  The Chinese platform’s announcement represents the latest move in the “copycat wars” between the largest social media platforms in the world. TikTok has already launched a site called notes.tiktok.com with a nonfunctional Open App button that teases users with Polaroid-like images with captions reminiscent of the posts regularly seen on American social media giant Instagram.

In a statement to BBC, TikTok revealed that the company was developing “dedicated space” for posting images and text but that it still hadn’t completed the design for the TikTok Notes app or settled on an official release date. Another report from retail industry online news source Modern Retail indicates that TikTok is encouraging companies to use its new photo-sharing app with the promise of an average of three times more comments and 2.6 times more shares compared to video posts.

University of Southern California professor and digital social media expert Karen North notes that TikTok’s decision to expand into photo sharing isn’t because video has lost its top spot in the content creation space. Rather, North said, the move is likely the social media platform’s attempt to engage with the myriad of people who just aren’t comfortable with being filmed and being on video.

Video is likely to remain a key driver of engagement on social media, and enterprises such as Momo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOMO) focused on developing solutions that make video sharing easier are playing a big part in making videos a big part of how people interact on social media platforms.

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