TikTok job postings point to social features to help it compete with Meta

The company is reportedly concerned about users leaving to chat about its videos on competing platforms.


TikTok appears ready to move the platform closer to a full-fledged social network. As spotted by Axios, the company has posted new job listings for positions focused on social networking features and expanded direct messaging. A “Product manager - TikTok social” posting reads that the company wants to build “meaningful social connections between users.”

The job listings are reportedly connected to worries within the organization about retaining and growing user engagement. “Inside TikTok, there’s concern that users are sharing TikTok videos externally on other social media and messaging apps when they want to discuss them with friends,” Axios reported, citing sources within the company. Job postings for mobile engineers say the candidates will focus on “building a reliable and adaptive platform that enables users to meet and interact with their real-life friends seamlessly on TikTok, and encourage them to share their life moments with each other and stay connected regardless of where they are.”

Expanding TikTok’s messaging features appears to be of primary importance. One job listing for a backend tech lead admits that the company’s messaging capability is in “its infancy,” according to Axios. That posting said the person hired will “explore and implement diversified social solutions” while referring to creating messaging that’s a “distinctive TikTok social solution.”

TikTok made its bones on viral videos — with social features mostly limited to peripheral interactions such as likes, comments and reposts. As rival platforms like Instagram integrate more TikTok-like features, it seems logical the company would return the favor by expanding its social capabilities. However, it stressed that video remains at the heart of its identity when trying new things. A TikTok spokesperson told Axios: “Being an entertainment channel has always been and remains the core of TikTok’s business model even as we experiment with new features to enhance the user experience.”