Tokkers can Tok like Tweeters can Tweet – for now

Scavenging for disgruntled former Twitter users? Fellow vulture, we honor thee.

Chinese short video platform TikTok announced yesterday it will offer text-based content – a feature that mimics capabilities of various other social media sites, including what is formerly known as Twitter, Meta's Threads and even Instagram.

"Creators have been able to make content on TikTok across a variety of formats – from Live videos to photos, Duets to Stitch," said TikTok. "Text is the latest addition to options for content creation, allowing creators to share their stories, poems, recipes, and other written content on TikTok … making it even easier to create."

Users of the feature are able to insert music, stickers and more into the text-based posts, making the platform even more reminiscent of Instagram.

If ever there was a time to attract users to text posts, it is now. Technology enthusiast and impulsive shitposter Elon Musk is making some, let's say, questionable decisions with his newish toy, Twitter. Among these is a rebrand to the letter X, allegedly skipping out on rent, rampant letting go of staff, enabling imposter accounts via blue tick monetization plans, and displaying great leadership and maturity by challenging fellow tech billionaires to physical fights. Not to mention apparently purchasing Twitter on a whim in the first place.

For reasons whether specific or cumulative, Twitter ad revenue has halved since Musk's takeover, meaning there's a lot of money out there not being made.

Various platforms have attempted to step into the space that the dramatic, if incomplete, demise of X/Twitter has wrought. Those apps have included Mastodon, Bluesky and the more successful Meta upstart, Threads. The latter garnered over 30 million downloads in 16 hours, thus surpassing ChatGPT as the most rapidly downloaded app to date.

While Threads was launched as a completely new platform, TikTok chose to integrate new features to its existing set. It may turn out to be a smart strategy, as TikTok makes use of the 1.4 billion monthly active users clocked by Business of Apps in 2022.

Of course, there's always the worry that TikTok is doing too much. Diversification may not always be best – just don’t tell Musk that as he races to make X into "the everything app."

Of TikTok's billions of users, 150 million are in the USA – a locale that has brought the platform no end of trouble. It has faced specific bans for some, such as government employees, as concerns have risen over its relationship to the Chinese government and how data is stored. ®

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