SnapChat is making more changes that could see it challenge TikTok more directly.
The social media app is testing a new experience that will allow users move through content by a swipe. The gesture is already popular on TikTok, where users can navigate through videos by a vertical swiping motion.
The test feature will only target content posted publicly on SnapChat discover and not on people’s private stories. However, since stories can have multiple parts, users will still need to tap to advance through, as before. In the new experiment, a horizontal swiping motion to the left or right will exit the experience as opposed to moving you between Stories, as before.
Many users who also use TikTok have become accustomed to the vertical swipe, so much so that when they return to SnapChat, it can almost be confusing having to navigate between videos.
The test was first announced by Matt Navara, a social media consultant, after he spotted a tweet from a user on their SnapChat experience. There is a photo showing the pop up in the app and a video demonstrating how it works.
SnapChat did not give further details on the test, but only mentioned that it is still in the early stages of the test and that it was available to a small section of users.
“We’re always experimenting with new ways to bring immersive and engaging content to our mobile-first Snapchat community,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch.
The timing of the test is quite interesting bearing in mind the backlash that TikTok is receiving from various ends. The social media app was banned in India, together with a host of other Chinese apps, just a few ago.
Last week, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, revealed that the US was also considering banning the use of TikTok in the country.The Chinese owned social media app has been accused of working closely with the Chinese government posing a security threat over people’s personal information.
With the US market potentially up for grabs, SnapChat could just be stepping in to give users an exciting new TikTok-like experience.
The test also demonstrates TikTok’s popularity and influence over the social media space as it sets unprecedented trends. SnapChat short stories were copied by almost all social media platforms, including Instagram; it is no doubt small bits and pieces of TikTok will soon start appearing everywhere.