TikTok Is Testing a New Instagram-Like Profile Format, While Questions Remain About Moderation Policies

If nothing else, TikTok is certainly sparking a lot of debate, and angst, within social media marketing circles. 

The short-form video app, which saw a huge rise in 2019, is now looking to solidify its offerings, and maximize its ad potential – though it still seems to have a way to go before it establishes itself as a mainstay in the social media platform race.

That’s somewhat reflected in the latest news about the app – first off, TikTok is reportedly looking to update its profile design, switching to a more Instagram-style format.

The new layout was shared by New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz on Twitter, and clearly, there is an Instagram-ish feel to this new display.

For comparison, here’s what Instagram profiles currently look like (on the right) alongside this new TikTok design:

TikTok profile vs Instagram profile

And here’s what the same TikTok profile currently looks like:

TikTok profile

In some ways, aligning with Instagram’s format makes sense, given its the more familiar app, based on user counts. The presentation seems a little clearer to – there’s no word at this stage as to whether this new profile format will ever be rolled out, but your TikTok presence may look different sometime soon.

Meanwhile, TikTok continues to grapple with its content moderation policies.

Questions have been raised in the past in regards to how much influence the Chinese Government may have over TikTok’s moderation approach, while last year, the platform was also found to be limiting the reach of content that had been uploaded by users who appeared to have disabilities in a misguided attempt to limit cyberbullying. 

Now, some platform influencers are also raising concerns with TikTok’s less than clear-cut guidelines.

As reported by The Daily Beast, a few prominent creators have expressed frustration with content takedowns on their accounts, which appear to have no defined reason or logic behind them.

As per The Daily Beast:

“The app’s community guidelines prohibit content similar to the stuff banned by other big social networks – terrorism, hate speech, violence, crime, harassment, nudity, disinformation. But influencers say what gets flagged goes far beyond flagrant violations into the ridiculous – apparently censoring common household items.”

This was in relation to a clip which appears to have been removed because it showed a kitchen knife in the background of the shot. But the creator’s not exactly sure why, because TikTok won’t tell him – and while some users have found that you can simply re-upload removed content at a later stage, and not have a problem, others say that they’re being forced to change their content approach in order to stay in TikTok’s good books.

That could become a significant issue for a platform which is trying to establish itself, and needs these prominent creators to stick around and keep uploading to the app.

There’s no doubting TikTok’s rise to prominence, but it will be interesting to see if the app can maintain its momentum as it reduces its promotional spend, while also facing new challenges, like that posed by Byte, the re-awakened version of Vine. 

Even if TikTok isn’t able to continue its growth in 2020, it still likely poses a level of opportunity for some social media marketers right now. But I wouldn’t be anointing it the next big thing just yet.

2020 will be a big test for the short-form video app.

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