The popular social media site TikTok, which is well-known for its compelling short video content, announced on Monday that it will support text-only posting. This makes TikTok the latest tech giant to launch an alternative to Twitter, which is currently facing backlash for numerous changes.
The text postings on TikTok will resemble those on Instagram. Earlier this month, Instagram and Facebook's parent company Meta launched Threads as a rival to Twitter, which CEO Elon Musk rebranded as X on Monday. TikTok currently boasts 1.4 billion monthly active users, according to an AFP report.
However, unlike Meta, TikTok will include the new text-only function in its app and not release a separate product like Threads. The text-only posts seem to appear similar to Instagram Stories. People can add a background colour, edit the text, and add music as well as stickers. Posts have a 1,000-character limit, according to a report in The Verge.
Users can interact with a post through activities such as commenting. According to a TechCrunch report, TikTok's new content option will enable users to share their stories, poems, lyrics and other text as a way of expressing themselves.
“At TikTok, we’re always looking to empower our creators and community with innovative tools that inspire self-expression,” TikTok said in a blog post, which added that with text posts, the site is “expanding the boundaries of content creation” for users.
With users constantly expressing discontent over Musk’s changes to Twitter, companies such as Meta and TikTok have tapped the potential of expansion in the text-only space. In 2022, TikTok was the most downloaded app globally, according to a SensorTower report, as reported by Hindustan Times. With its increasing popularity and dominating presence in the short video market, it could give stiff competition to Twitter.
However, people in India won’t have access to these new changes. TikTok, along with more than 50 other Chinese-created apps, was banned completely in India by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in June 2020. Before the ban, TikTok had about 150 million monthly active users in India. Although the app is banned, the personal data of Indian TikTok users "remain widely accessible to employees at the company,” according to a Forbes report.