The new version of TikTok will be a lot like Instagram

  • TikTok is working on a standalone photo-sharing app similar to Instagram.
  • The app, TikTok Photos, will let users share photos with the original TikTok and will feature an image feed similar to Instagram’s.
  • Next week, US lawmakers will vote on whether TikTok should face a nationwide ban in the United States.

In a bid to completely overwhelm Instagram, TikTok is looking to launch a version of an app similar to its photo-sharing competitor from Meta. This photo-sharing version of the app will work similarly to Instagram in that it will feature a feed where users can share images with other accounts.

Work being done on this new platform was discovered by The SpAndroid. One of their writers decompiled the TikTok app APK “to see what is going on there.” They came across a new “TikTok Photos” platform through brand new strings found in the APK of the latest version (33.8.4).

These strings invite users to try out the new TikTok Photos app. These messages will appear in the normal app. They also suggest that content will be shareable between the original and TikTok Photos. One particular string describes that you can “Reach other like-minded people who enjoy photo posts” with the new app.

TikTok is already Instagram’s biggest competitor in terms of short-form videos, so much so that Instagram copied it to create its popular “Reels” feature. This was followed suit by the likes of YouTube Shorts and others.

You can post photos to TikTok right now but they will appear like regular videos in the feed, or they can be spliced together to form a sort of slideshow. It seems now with the upcoming Photos app, which TheSpAndroid asserts will be a “new and separate app”, you will be able to post just images.

As of right now there is no official word when the photos app will launch, or even in which territories it will be available. The Chinese social media company, owned by ByteDance, has different versions of the main TikTok app in different parts of the world. It may be possible that Photos will only launch in certain regions compared to others, but the fact that the strings are in English could be a sign that it will see wide international availability.

TikTok facing ban across America

The new TikTok Photos app may not see the light of the day in the US if TikTok is banned by American lawmakers.

Earlier this week a bill was passed unanimously by the US Energy and Commerce Committee that if ByteDance does not sell its popular app – preferably to an American firm – it will become impossible to download in the US (other than through a VPN.)

Next week, the bill will head to the House of Representatives for a vote that will decide the fate of the app in the US, one of its largest markets. The app doesn’t have a lack of attention, with even the likes of former Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick musing the idea of purchasing the platform, as per reports.

This would save the app from the ban, but then Kotick would be in charge. We’re not sure which fate is worse.

[Image – Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash]


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