TikTok mulls over introducing group chat feature this year – sources
SINGAPORE/BEIJING (CHINA) – TikTok may unveil a group messaging feature this year, people with knowledge of the discussions recently told. This would place the Chinese-owned app in more direct competition with rivals of social media such as Facebook.
Group messaging is part of owner ByteDance’s plan to transform TikTok into more of a “social interactions app”, one of the sources said. The feature was enlisted in the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, since 2019.
A group chat function would prompt TikTok sustain users on the app longer. TikTok has also been expanding its livestreaming and e-commerce offerings and group chats would have a provision for influencers to more easily connect with fans.
It is currently evaluating when and where it will launch group chats on TikTok, the sources said.
US President Joe Biden’s new administration has temporarily suspended a government lawsuit, which could have resulted in a de facto ban, with regard to the app’s use in the United States and corporate sponsors have been back in the service.
The Trump administration had admitted that TikTok has had national security concerns as the personal data of US users could be derived by China’s government.
One of the sources said that the group chat messaging service is likely to be unencrypted.
Hany Farid, a digital forensics expert who is on Tiktok’s US advisory council, said he had not been informed about group chats being introduced in the United States. It, however, added that the platform would need to be ready to tackle dangers that would be witnessed with expansion into social messaging.
“If you are a site that is the size of a TikTok or a Facebook, even if it’s not encrypted, you still have to worry about how am I going to moderate this material and deal with the harms.”