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TikTok isn’t a social media company—it's an “entertainment platform.”
At least that’s what the company’s president of global business solutions, Blake Chandlee, told CNBC on Thursday—noting that the distinction is what allows the video-sharing app to succeed while other social media companies look to replicate its model. Chandlee, who brought 12 years of experience at Facebook to his current role, added that attempts by the likes of his former employer to recreate TikTok’s impact will fail due to the “massive difference” in the companies’ platforms.
TikTok’s status as an entertainment platform is evidenced by its ability to shift cultural trends and user experiences, Chandlee said. He’s not wrong on that front: the Culver City firm has left a particular mark on the music industry, influencing everything from how musicians release new songs to how they can make money from them. Recent developments indicate the TikTok is now also taking other areas of entertainment seriously: It is reportedly considering an expansion into video games and is now streaming its first live subscription comedy series.
But if expanding your portfolio outside of the typical social media feed is all that it takes to be an entertainment platform, then TikTok isn’t exactly unique. Snap has also been diversifying its content, which has even earned the Santa Monica company a couple awards. Even Facebook—which Chandlee noted centers its algorithm around social features above all —began developing original programming in 2017 and is increasing its gaming presence.
Chandlee isn’t wrong that social media rivals have tried to parrot TikTok’s success; Meta is still betting big on Instagram Reels, while YouTube Shorts continues to compete with TikTok for creators. But TikTok isn’t exempt from shamelessly swiping its rivals’ features, either—having recently given in to the imitation game via its Stories feature and Bitmoji-like avatars.
And if Facebook wants to be TikTok, as Chandlee indicated, then TikTok wants to be YouTube. The app increased its maximum video length to 10 minutes earlier this year to accommodate longer-form content, and its insistence on presenting itself as an entertainment platform certainly hints at further battles for popularity with the Google-owned giant. — Kristin Snyder
Kippo, the dating app for gamers, has partnered with NFT marketplace Magic Eden to make buying “land” and creating experiences in its in-app virtual environment more accessible to users.
SpaceX has reportedly fired several employees who were involved in writing and circulating an open letter that criticized CEO Elon Musk.
TikTok’s data on U.S. users was repeatedly accessed in China by employees of parent company ByteDance, according to a new report from BuzzFeed News.
Social media giant Snap is testing a paid subscription called Snapchat Plus that would give users access to exclusive features.
In this week’s edition of “Raises”: a local fintech startup raised $167 million to make it much easier to pay for parking spots, while software startups in Santa Barbara and Irvine also landed large funding rounds.
Video game developer Jam City has a new executive vice president, and new heads for its casino and puzzle divisions. See all the tech career moves in our weekly roundup.
On this episode of the Office Hours podcast, host Spencer Rascoff talks with Mayor Suarez about his vision for building a tech hub in Miami and how the pandemic and changes in work culture helped it gain momentum.
What We’re Reading Elsewhere...
- Lionsgate and The Sandbox partner to create a film and TV destination in the metaverse that is “part virtual real estate, part amusement park.”
- Rivian will build a wind turbine at its Illinois plant to power its vehicles.
- Warner Music Group sets its eyes on the growing Middle East marketplace.
- L.A. City Council taps the city's internal IT agency to make it easier for citizens to report hate crimes.
- A leaked Amazon memo warns the company is running out of people to hire.
- L.A. will host a King Tut "immersive exhibition" produced in part by National Geographic.