How Spotify, Instagram, Twitter and more are copying features like the “For You” page.

The top row

Social media platforms have a long history of bouncing ideas off each other, but as TikTok continues to soar in popularity, competing platforms like Instagram, YouTube and even Spotify are adopting their own versions of its recommended For You page. TikTok and its endless scrolling video format.


August 5, 2020While the TikTok boom was still fresh, Instagram introduced its own version of short-form video content: Reels, which could only be 15 seconds at launch but now exceed 90 seconds, work like TikTok videos and can be shared with anyone, not just followers a user feature, the company will give people “the opportunity to be creators.”

September 2020Shortly after TikTok was banned in India, YouTube launched its own algorithmic video sharing feature, YouTube Shorts, in the country, allowing users to make 15-second videos with several creative tools and music options.

November 23, 2020Snapchat launched Spotlight, a vertical video sharing stream based on a TikTok-like algorithm (and offered millions to creators to incentivize them to post viral content).

July 13, 2021YouTube The short went global after garnering billions of views per day in its limited release, following months of beta testing in India and the United States.

July 26, 2022Head of it Instagram Adam Mosheri said “more and more of Instagram will become video over time” in response to backlash that the app had become too TikTok-like.

January 10, 2023As part of a series of controversial changes new Twitter CEO Elon Musk made on the platform, an update splits a user’s timeline into “Follow” and “For you” tabs, the last of which is an algorithm-based timeline that suggests tweets about topics that users have engaged with.

March 8, 2023Spotify announced a redesign of its home page where users will be able to scroll vertically through a TikTok-like video stream with music and podcast recommendations.

Key background

Social media platforms copying each other’s features is nothing new—and TikTok has done it, too. TikTok merged with in 2018 after the latter launched in 2014. Both have drawn many comparisons to Vine, a now-defunct social media platform that was acquired by Twitter in 2012 and unceremoniously shut down four years later due to short form video sharing format and its humor. More recently, TikTok has rolled out features like Now, which prompts users at a random time each day to post a short video or photo from their phone’s front and rear cameras to show their followers what they want. It is an almost identical clone of BeReal, whose branding revolves around the same feature without video support. Instagram is also working on its own version. But the removal of features from rival platforms has long predated TikTok. In 2016, Instagram controversially added a Stories feature, a clone of the feature that helped make Snapchat a global success.

Dear critics

Twitter and Spotify have been criticized by some in recent months for their new TikTok-like features. “It’s crazy to see tech companies tearing apart their user interfaces and business models trying to compete with TikTok because they can’t do the one thing that makes TikTok work, and that’s the AI ​​that powers it,” tech writer Ryan Broderick. he tweeted following Spotify’s announcement last week. Similarly, Knowledgeable technical editor Kyle Wilson; he tweeted: “Just you. It doesn’t all have to be TikTok. Spotify was fine as is…” Twitter’s new ‘about you’ page has drawn similar criticism from Twitter users who see it as an unnecessary and confusing update. “The Twitter for you page is really good because it only gives me the exact opposite of what I would like to see,” one user he tweeted. Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian also spoke out against Instagram’s spin on video in July 2022, sharing a post that said “Make Instagram Instagram again” and urging the platform to stop trying to be like TikTok. Chrissy Teigen he tweeted in response to Mosseri’s statement that Instagram will continue to focus on video content: “We don’t want to do videos Adam lol.”

Big number

1 billion This is the number of monthly active users that TikTok surpassed in September 2021. It is still behind competitors like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, although it reached 1 billion faster than any of them.

Tangent line

TikTok has more to fear from competition than other social media platforms. Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing to ban TikTok in the United States, citing national security and privacy concerns for the Chinese platform.

Further reading

Spotify’s new design is part TikTok, part Instagram, and part YouTube (The Verge)

The Internet Is Not Happy With Spotify’s New Design (Mashable)

All Social Media Giants Are Becoming The Same (Wired)

Leave a Comment