Messaging features already exist within TikTok, although it is not typically perceived as a messaging app. However, it appears that the company is determined to alter this perception.
ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is actively recruiting for various positions within a team called “TikTok Social,” indicating a concerted effort to enhance TikTok’s messaging capabilities significantly.
While these job listings maintain a degree of typical vagueness, they also provide insights into what’s next for TikTok. For instance, an engineering lead listing states, “We are the messaging team on TikTok. Our team’s mission is to facilitate meaningful user connections through TikTok’s messaging experience, which is still in its infancy.”
Another listing, seeking a backend tech lead, mentions collaboration with international teams to develop a distinctive TikTok social solution, including messaging. Additionally, a product manager for the TikTok Social team is expected to possess a “passion and curiosity for Social direction to create great impacts.”
TikTok’s job listings do not provide explicit details about a specific overarching product plan, and the company itself has mentioned to Axios that entertainment remains the core focus of TikTok. Nevertheless, the job listing for a backend software engineer indicates that the Social team is responsible for overseeing various components, including “User Profile, Story, Inbox, Messaging, Follow, Like, Comment, Tag”, all of which point toward a full-blown messaging app like many of its rivals.
It appears that while others are trying to copy TikTok’s highly engaging short-form video feed, TikTok itself is busy trying to incorporate features from other apps instead.