TikTok Contemplates Adding Group Chat Feature

TikTok, Douyin, Bytedance, group chat, group messaging

TikTok, the popular short-video sharing app used by more than a billion people, is considering the addition of a group chat tool, which would help it better compete with social media rivals, Reuters reported, citing sources.

Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, was planning a group messaging tool as a way to facilitate social interaction among users, sources told Reuters. Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, launched a group chat feature in 2019.

The addition of a group messaging feature could encourage TikTok users — primarily teenagers and young adults — to spend more time on the app, and could also potentially boost TikTok’s social commerce and livestreams and help users better connect with influencers. 

A second source told Reuters that ByteDance had started talking about adding a group messaging tool in 2020, but shelved the idea due to the Trump administration’s probe and threats of being banned. Now, the company is revisiting the concept as President Joe Biden’s administration has paused the lawsuit.

Hong Kong-based ByteDance saw roughly $35 billion in revenue in 2020 and was valued at $180 billion. 

Earlier this month, TikTok announced plans to launch an event geared toward small and mid-size businesses (SMBs). The webinar is intended to help companies get familiar with the platform and learn more about social selling. Aside from Walmart, TikTok has deals with Dunkin’, DSW, Pepsi, Aldo and more.

Walmart said earlier this month that it was planning to ramp up its presence on TikTok. Walmart said its social commerce livestreams had seven times more views than expected and had increased its TikTok followers by 25 percent. The retail behemoth had been in talks with Oracle to jointly buy the video sharing site.

TikTok’s partnership with Shopify in October of 2020 rolled out to 14 more countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The announcement of TikTok’s Shopify collaboration prompted Facebook to announce that it is also doubling down on social commerce and will add new features for the contextual shopper.