TikTok is the new kid on the block in the social media world. However, the app’s popularity, especially among teens, should be concerning to Facebook. In line with its increasing reputation for being out-of-touch, Facebook doesn’t seem to understand what they’re up against.
In leaked audio from an internal Q&A at Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg said:
The way that we kind of think about it is: it’s married short-form, immersive video with browse. So it’s almost like the Explore Tab that we have on Instagram, which is today primarily about feed posts and highlighting different feed posts. I kind of think about TikTok as if it were Explore for stories, and that were the whole app.
But anyone who has used TikTok knows that it is so much more than Explore. It’s the bigger, badder version of Vine. TikToks aren’t just haphazard, biographical videos of your day; they are succinct videos that are carefully planned and executed. In a way, they are video memes – short, funny, and constantly building off each other and internet culture in general.
Lasso won’t last
Facebook has launched an underwhelming clone of TikTok called Lasso, but that won’t get it anywhere. Consider how Facebook took the wind out of Snapchat’s sails: its initial clone apps were not successful. Facebook succeeded in competing with Snapchat by adding a copycat of Snapchat Stories, front-and-center, to Instagram and Facebook. Can that even be done with TikTok?
The short answer is that it would be a lot more difficult, because the nature of each platform is so completely different. It wouldn’t be easy to add an impersonal, viral-video-style option to Facebook and Instagram, which are innately personal social media platforms. It will be interesting to see if Facebook tries such a strategy or others once Lasso proves to be a bust.