The 2022 social media landscape in a nutshell: Facebook trying hard to be Instagram, Instagram trying hard to be TikTok, and TikTok trying hard to be BeReal.
As TikTok moves into major marketing territories with more paid and overly crafted content, its newborn sibling has become the hottest kid in town: TikTok Now.
The idea is to ask users to post unedited material with their front and back cameras simultaneously upon daily prompted alerts.
These daily notifications on TikTok Now look pretty much the same as those on BeReal: Users receive an instant alert with between lightning emojis reading “Time to Now,” with a FOMO-inducing three-minute window following the alert to share what exactly is happening in their day. Still, this is one more minute to take a breath than BeReal.
When uploading content, we realize that TikTok Now is clearly leveraging its specialty in short-form videos, since it allows users to upload up to 10-second videos instead of only photos.
Since the app is still in its trial period, the explore section of TikTok Now is filled with content from Chinese users (seeming suspiciously like internal ByteDance employees LOL), with one new noticeable feature – the exact time when pictures are published.
When it comes to interaction, BeReal allows users to reply with RealMoji, whereby they need to take an instant selfie, while TikTok Now is sticking with the traditional replies, likes, and shares system that we usually see on Meta’s platforms.
It isn’t hard to admit that with today’s social media feed filled with algorithm-heavy creator content, demands for close circle sharing are high. The idea of voluntarily giving up control of the image we put out there on social media today is freeing, however issues with privacy are equally concerning. The fact that user locations are automatically shared along with the exact time of day on TikTok Now and BeReal, even with content mainly shared among friends circles, is alarming.
TikTok Now inherited privacy policies from its mother app. The account will be set to private if someone under 16 registers for a standalone account, while users must be full-fledged adults to share TikTok Now posts on the public explore feed. However, this is all based on honesty upon registration with no real oversight.
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While other social media giants like Snapchat and Instagram are rumored to be rolling out their own dual camera, time-based ephemeral versions, TikTok is the first so far to come up with something similar.
Overall, it still seems like a more traditional, video-leaning shareable version of BeReal. As competition rises, we would love to see more coming from TikTok Now with its initial strong suit of video, music and entertainment, and discover how it shapes culture and possibly starts trends with the dual camera.