TikTok is continuing to expand availability of its ‘Friends’ tab even though many users seem to prefer and want to keep hold of the ‘Discover’ button. TikTok has been making a number of changes lately, many of which are designed to foster a safer and more inclusive experience on the platform. It would seem that the addition of the Friends tab is also designed to help with this goal by making it easier to see videos from familiar creators and accounts.
TikTok has proven itself to be a major disruptor in the social media space. Not only does it now see more downloads than most other services, but it also has found many of its core features being replicated by other social media services as well. For example, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels are not much more than TikTok clones. Still, for many that love the short-form video style, TikTok remains the go-to option, and the discovery of new and trending videos is one of the main reasons.
The Friends tab is now in the process of rolling out to even more devices, as recently confirmed in a Tweet by TikTok. This is not an entirely new change as TikTok has been testing it for a few months, but it is now clear that significantly more users will start to see it appearing in their app. The Friends tab works by offering TikTok users a way to more easily find videos uploaded by the accounts they know. Essentially, the Friends tab is a network-based section of the app that brings together content from accounts that the user has some connection to, and a place where they can find ‘people you may know’ suggestions for accounts they might want to follow in the future.
For those yet to encounter the Friends tab, it replaces the Discover tab in the menu at the bottom of the app. A change that has not gone unnoticed by users. In the same Twitter post confirming the expanded rolling out of the feature, many of the replies made clear that this was not a feature they wanted nor one that TikTok even needed. Similar comments were also made on various Reddit posts (like this one) three months ago when the feature first started showing up. Considering TikTok already has a ‘Following’ page which brings together videos from accounts they follow, the addition of the Friends tab is being viewed as pointless and unnecessary. Not to mention, one that removes the ability for users to actually see and find trending and popular videos through the Discover feed.
While these are valid points, it would seem that TikTok is making the change to try and increase engagement between accounts, especially as the Friends tab makes it super easy to connect with real-world contacts and Facebook Friends. While the removal of the Discovery button does impact on the way videos will be found in the future, the option to use the search button to search for popular hashtags and trending videos is still there. Not to mention, TikTok’s For You page will remain an easy way to find new videos to watch.
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