News: Exclusive: TikTok considers introducing group chat feature this year – sources.
SINGAPORE / BEIJING (Reuters) – The video sharing platform TikTok may launch a group messaging feature this year, telling people with knowledge of the discussions to Reuters and putting the Chinese-owned app in more direct competition with social Media competitors like Facebook.
Group messaging is part of owner ByteDance’s plan to make TikTok a “social interaction app,” one of the sources said. The feature has been part of the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, since 2019.
The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.
A group chat function would help TikTok to keep users in the app longer. TikTok, which is particularly popular with teens and young adults, has also expanded its live streaming and e-commerce offering, and group chats would allow influencers to more easily connect with fans.
TikTok did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
ByteDance had internal discussions about introducing the group chat feature last year, but postponed many updates after the app was targeted by the Trump administration and banned in India, a second person said.
We are currently checking when and where group chats should be started on TikTok.
The new administration of US President Joe Biden has suspended a government lawsuit that could have resulted in a de facto ban on the use of the app in the US, and corporate sponsors have returned to the service.
The White House also said last month it had not taken a new “proactive step”. related to the Trump administration’s plan to take over TikTok’s American operations from US investors.
The Trump administration had claimed that TikTok raised national security concerns as US users’ personal information could be accessed by the Chinese government. TikTok, which has over 100 million users in the US, has denied the allegation.
The group chat messaging service is likely to be unencrypted, one of the sources said.
Hany Farid, a digital forensics expert who is a member of Tiktok’s U.S. advisory board, said he was not notified of the launch of group chats in the U.S. but added that the platform must be ready to deal with the dangers that would come with the expansion of social messaging.
“If you are … site that’s the size of a TikTok or a Facebook, even if it’s not encrypted, you still have to worry about how to moderate this material and deal with the damage. “
Reporting by Fanny Potkin in Singapore and Yingzhi Yang in Beijing; Additional coverage from Echo Wang and Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Adaptation by Kenneth Li and Edwina Gibbs
Original Source © Reuters