TikTok confirms pilot test of TikTok Stories is now underway
Twitter may have shut down its Stories features known as Fleets, but the Stories format will continue to invade other social platforms. TikTok today confirmed it’s piloting a new feature, TikTok Stories, which will allow it to explore additional ways for its community to bring their creative ideas to life.
The company notes the new feature will be another option, in addition to its existing storytelling tools like videos, Duets, Stitch, and LIVE — it’s not meant to replace them.
TikTok didn’t say how long the pilot test would run or whether it would result in a public launch. However, we understand the test has been running for several days, not weeks or months, and is available in non-U.S. markets for the time being.
The current set of features may or may not make it to the public product, either, we should warn.
The feature was discovered by social media consultant Matt Navarra, who is often among the first to find new features in social apps. In this case, he tells us that several tipsters brought screenshots of TikTok Stories to him, but it was initially unclear whether or not it was a hoax.
The timing, of course, was somewhat suspect — Twitter had just shut down Fleets in what was a fairly high-profile example of a failure to make Stories work on a social platform, despite their popularity on other social apps, like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and even, as of late, Pinterest.
The screenshots and videos of TikTok Stories in action confirm what appears to be, for the most part, a feature that will look familiar to users of Stories on other platforms.
Users can tap a camera button from the new navigation bar on the left side of the screen to create their first Story, and use common tools like those to add text or stickers, insert sounds, and even use effects, on their content. Like other platforms, users can either record videos or upload photos — the latter which opens up TikTok to take advantage of users’ larger camera rolls, rather than relying only on video.
Where TikTok’s version of Stories differentiates itself is that it allows users to comment publicly on the creator’s content. These comments are public, the app explains, as mutual friends can see each other’s comments. There is also another tab where you can see how many people viewed a given Story, and whether or not you’re following those users.
The Stories are ephemeral and disappear in 24 hours, the app’s tutorial explains.
To view Stories from other creators, you can scroll through the new sidebar and tap on the creator’s avatar to watch their content. (This almost looks like a vertical version of Twitter’s Fleets bar, even down to the blue rings around creator’s profile photos.)
The addition of Stories may give TikTok users who don’t post with regularity (or at all), an easier way to start engaging with TikTok’s tools by starting with a more comfortable and familiar format. But it can also give creators a way to interact more casually with fans in between their more polished and edited TikTok video posts.
It’s also a direct shot across Instagram’s bow, following the Facebook-owned app’s direct attempt to copy TikTok with Reels.
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