TikTok is replacing its Discover tab.
The platform tweeted that it’s expanding a new tab called “Friends” to more users, confirming an April report from social media consultant Matt Navarra that said some people had seen Discover swapped out for the new feed.
TikTok describes the Friends tab as a place “which will allow you to easily find and enjoy content from people you’re connected with.”
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TikTok’s current Discover tab operates like the Discover tabs on Instagram and Snapchat: it serves up a range of content, ostensibly a mix of popular content and content that might be outside a user’s normal niches, so they can—you guessed it—discover something new.
But the Friends tab seems to operate more like a Twitter timeline, filled with content from people a user already follows (or is already connected to in some way, at least—the mockup image TikTok tweeted showed the tab asking users to populate it by adding their mobile contacts or Facebook friends).
As we continue to celebrate community and creativity, we’re bringing a Friends Tab to more people over the coming weeks, which will allow you to easily find and enjoy content from people you’re connected with, so you can choose even more ways to be entertained on TikTok. pic.twitter.com/GdVpPbxio6
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) May 5, 2022
As Social Media Today points out, TikTok might’ve deemed the Discover tab unnecessary considering its content-funneling recommendation algorithm is really, really good at figuring out what users want to watch. People swiping through videos on their For You feed are essentially already being served a kind of Discover feed—just with a smaller amount of out-there content they may be interested in mixed among the content TikTok knows they’ll like.
It’s not clear exactly how many users have the Friends tab right now versus the Discover tab. It’s also not clear if TikTok is rolling the tab out as a test, or if this is actual implementation, so it’s possible (although unlikely at this point) that not all users will see the Friends tab in the end.
Either way, this push to have users do more networking with their friends and consume more content their friends like is an interesting turn for a platform that doesn’t want people calling it social media.