Tech

TikTok is the latest app to join the text-focused social media era

TikTok is joining the competition for text-based platforms.

TikTok's logo is shown.
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The days of photo and video-focused apps — from Instagram and Snapchat to Pinterest and BeReal — seem to be things of the past for the social media world. Now it's all about the basics: Text.

On the heels of Meta's Threads launch and Twitter's X rebrand, the latest company to jump into the text competition is TikTok, the platform that changed the social media landscape with its short-form video content.

In a blog post Monday, the company announced users can now post text-only content, a departure from its typical video strategy. It says this will give users another way "to share their stories, poems, recipes" and other written forms of expression. 

"With text posts, we're expanding the boundaries of content creation for everyone on TikTok, giving the written creativity we've seen in comments, captions, and videos a dedicated space to shine," the blog post said.

Users can now choose between three formats — text, photo and video — instead of only being able to type over photos or video or in captions or comments, but the text format still gives "familiar options to customize your content," like sounds, location tagging, allowing Duets and more. It also still allows users to tag others and add hashtags for trending topics.

Twitter is now X, but hundreds of other X trademarks may cause issues
Twitter is now X, but hundreds of other X trademarks may cause issues

Twitter is now X, but hundreds of other X trademarks may cause issues

Twitter has been rebranded as X, but other companies already own trademarks related to the letter.

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TikTok's text posts can be up to 1,000 characters long, which is much longer than the character limits of its competitors. Posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, can be up to 280 characters, and posts on Threads can be up to 500 characters.

These comparisons are part of the escalating battle for whose text feature is supreme among social media companies — namely X, Meta and now TikTok.

Most recently, Elon Musk rebranded Twitter to X on Monday, a move that didn't sit right with many of its more than 368 million active monthly users, according to a Dec. 2022 count

But the platform's CEO, Linda Yaccarino, said X is the product of "fans and critics alike" who have pushed Twitter to innovate. She said the platform's transformation will allow it to deliver "everything."

"X is the future state of unlimited interactivity — centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking — creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities. Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine," Yaccarino said in an X post.

Meta's Twitter/X competitor Threads was a major success upon its launch less than three weeks ago. The company said more than 100 million people had signed up for the app after just a week, though it's unclear where the numbers stand today.

As for TikTok, more than 1 billion people actively use the platform each month, technically making it the biggest of the three text competitors on its first official day of use.