As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so too is it all but guaranteed in 2021 that social media platforms will eventually test some ill-fated version of Instagram Stories in their feeds. And as of Wednesday, TikTok is no longer the exception: The platform is reportedly experimenting with a new stories feature.
The rumor was first reported by Geekout founder Matt Navarro, and a TikTok spokesperson has since confirmed its veracity to The Verge. The new addition will be just like the features you’ve no doubt known, loved, or barely used on Facebook (“Stories”), Pinterest (“Story Pins”), LinkedIn (“Stories,” yet again) and Twitter (the recently canned “Fleets”), in that it will allow users to post content that’s live for just 24 hours before it’s automatically deleted. Instagram itself stole Stories straight from Snapchat, but that’s ancient history.
According to screen grabs posted by Navarro, TikTok’s latest feature will also be called Stories, of course, and will live in a newly added slide-over sidebar from which you’ll be able to access a carousel of content from the accounts you follow before it vanishes forever. In a statement given to Variety, a spokesperson for the app, owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, confirmed that a small pilot test of the feature is already underway in a number of countries outside the U.S.
“We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” the spokesperson said. “Currently we’re experimenting with ways to give creators additional formats to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”
The news comes just one day after YouTube launched its own copycat short-term content format, Shorts, which it is planning to incentivize creators to participate in by offering eligible users up to $10,000 per month out of a $100 million creator fund.
As you know, social media platforms can no longer exist as distinct entities—they need to cannibalize each other’s every move, function, feature, and update until they’ve consolidated into one mega-platform that’s just a short-form video version of a primal scream. We wish TikTok, the latest entrant into this gauntlet, the best of luck.