TikTok is testing more mini-games, including one from Aim Lab

TikTok is conducting a broader test of games in its all-conquering app. The company recently added a way for creators in some markets (including the US) to append one of nine mini-games to a video by tapping the Add Link button and choosing the MiniGame option. When viewers come across a video that links to a game, they can start playing it by tapping a link next to the creator’s username.

“Currently, we’re exploring bringing HTML5 games to TikTok through integrations with third-party game developers and studios,” a TikTok spokesperson told TechCrunch. One of the games is from Aim Lab, the maker of a popular aim training app of the same name. Its TikTok game is called Mr. Aim Lab’s Nightmare. TikTok’s other partners on the initiative include developers Voodoo, Nitro Games, FRVR and Lotum.

None of the games have ads or in-app purchases at the minute and the project is in the early stages of testing. TikTok is looking to find out how (or if) creators craft content around them, and how users interact with the games. As The Verge notes, users can record their gameplay and share it in a fresh video.

Reports in recent months suggested TikTok was readying for a major push into gaming. Parent company ByteDance bought game developer Moonton Technology last year. TikTok teamed up with Zynga for an exclusive mobile game called Disco Loco 3D; a charity game called Garden of Good, through which players can trigger donations to Feeding America, became available on the US version of TikTok in June. TikTok previously tested HTML5 games in Vietnam.

Other major tech companies have made a push into mobile gaming, including Apple, Google and, more recently, Netflix. Zynga, of course, became a social gaming giant with the help of Facebook’s massive reach, while Facebook moved into cloud gaming in 2020. It’s no secret that Meta is trying to ape many of TikTok’s features across its apps, so it’s interesting to see TikTok taking a leaf out of Facebook’s playbook on the gaming front.

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What is the best time to post on TikTok?

If you’re going to be a successful TikTok creator, you need to think about how to use TikTok more effectively. And that includes being more intentional about when you post your videos. Your followers and those who are new to your content could miss out on your videos if you post them at the wrong time.

In this guide, we’ll go over what you need to know about when to post your TikTok videos so that as many people as possible will see them.

Does it matter when you post on TikTok?

Yes, it does matter. But timing is just one of the factors you need to consider. When combined with other factors like the quality, uniqueness, and frequency of your content, getting the timing right on when you share your videos can help you get more views and engagement initially, which can lead to TikTok’s algorithm boosting its recommendation of your content in other users’ For Your Page suggestions. Because as HootSuite and MakeUseOf (and even TikTok itself) note, in order to get more engagement and attention for your videos via TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, your video actually needs to have already garnered some engagement to start with.

And that’s the goal: To get your content in as many users’ FYPs as possible to increase the chance that those users will engage with and view your content.

To reach that goal, though, you’ll need to clear the first hurdle, and that’s to get as much engagement (such as likes, comments, and views) as possible when your video is first posted. The more engagement you get at first, the more likely TikTok’s algorithm will keep recommending your video to other users. A key to ensuring your video succeeds in snagging as much engagement as possible when it first publishes is picking the right time to publish your content. To do that, you need to be aware of who your content’s target audience is and when they’re most active (read: when they’re more likely to view your videos). If you’re able to align when your content is published with when your audience is around to view it, you’ll likely increase your engagement. How much engagement you get will still depend on other factors like the quality of your content.

Is it better to post in the morning or at night on TikTok?

That depends on who your target audience is. You’ll need to do your research to figure out things like what time zones your viewers live in and when they’re active on TikTok. And to do that, the general consensus is that you’ll need to see your videos’ analytics. To access those analytics, you’ll need a TikTok Business account. You can switch to a Business account by going to your TikTok settings: Open the mobile app, select Profile > MenuSettings and privacy > Manage account > Switch to Business account.

It’s free to switch to a Business account. You will, however, need to have posted a few public videos before analytics will be available for you to view.

Once you know when your target audience is active on TikTok, you can time your posts accordingly.

When are the best times to post on TikTok?

While there are well-researched general guesses posted online, nothing beats the accuracy of looking at your own videos’ specific analytics and creating a posting schedule based on your viewers’ activity. But if for some reason you don’t have access to such analytics just yet or you just want a general guide, you can go by what Influencer Marketing Hub had to say about it as of May 2022.

The following is Influencer Marketing Hub’s suggestions for posting times based on over “100,000 global TikTok posts and engagement rates”:

(All times listed are Eastern Time.)

Monday: 6 a.m., 10 a.m., and 10 p.m.

Tuesday: 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and 9 a.m.

Wednesday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m., and 11 p.m.

Thursday: 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 7 p.m.

Friday: 5 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m.

Sunday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m., and 4 p.m.

You can also use their website’s calculator to get a more personalized posting schedule.

Editors’ Choice

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Tech News

TikTok is down: Can’t log in? Don’t panic!

There is a situation going on over at TikTok, and the people that make TikTok are aware of it. As of 3:28 PM Central Time, TikTok Support made clear that the TikTok app was “currently experiencing some issues, which our team is working quickly to address.” If you’ve deleted the app and are about to try to log in once again, you’re gonna have a bad time.

If you are a TikTok user – especially if you’re a hardcore TikTok content creator – you might be panicking right now. If you’ve experienced the same situation as others did earlier today as shown in the TikTok support thread on Twitter, you might’ve popped the app open to find all your followers gone. Because this has the potential to be a monstrously important deal, some users immediately took drastic action.

As seems to be the trend, many users are deleting their TikTok app, then heading to their app store to re-download the app. Once a person deletes their app, it becomes entirely possible that all their offline content – content they’d saved in TikTok-attached folders on their phone – becomes deleted as well. This isn’t guaranteed – but depending on how your phone formats your content, it IS possible.

Content that appears for you on TikTok regardless of which device you’re using will remain available to you if you’ve already deleted your app on one device. That’s content hosted by TikTok, and it would appear (for now) that this content is unharmed.

If you’ve deleted the app and find yourself unable to log back in, you’re not alone. This does not mean your account is broken, or gone. It does not mean that your account was hacked, or stolen, or anything like that. It only means that the login process is part of the “issues” going on at TikTok right this minute. Your account is probably just fine.

If you’ve not yet deleted your TikTok app, and would like to keep using TikTok once this set of issues is fixed, there’s no good reason to delete the app. The issues are not likely in the app on your phone – they’re almost certainly in the TikTok servers, as hosted by TikTok.

It’s likely TikTok will be back online imminently. It would be a shock to find TikTok offline for much longer, given the massive amount of attention and use this social network gets throughout the day, every single day of the year – but stay tuned!

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Tech News

TikTok is increasing video length limit from 60 seconds to 3 minutes

TikTok will soon give users the option to create longer videos. The company is extending the maximum length of clips from 60 seconds to three minutes.

Up front: TikTok has been testing the expanded format since late last year. Over the coming weeks, the company will start rolling out the option around the world.

Product manager Drew Kirchhoff said the change would pave the way for richer storytelling and entertainment on the app:

Creators are already well-versed in weaving multi-part stories together on TikTok (we all know the phrase, ‘like and follow for part 3’) but we often hear from creators that they’d love just a little more time to bring their cooking demos, elaborate beauty tutorials, educational lesson plans, and comedic sketches to life with TikTok’s creative tools. With longer videos, creators will have the canvas to create new or expanded types of content on TikTok, with the flexibility of a bit more space.

The company has shared some examples of how creators have been experimenting with longer videos:

@chowderthebulldogWe’re trying out TikTok’s new longer video format. Please let us know what you think. #fyp#bulldogtiktok#dogsoftiktok#petsoftiktok#tipsandtricks♬ original sound – Chowder

Quick take:

TikTok videos were initially restricted to a maximum of 15 seconds, but the limit was later extended to one minute. The tight timeframe brevity has played a big role in the app’s rise, but it’s no longer a USP. In Snapchat Spotlight and YouTube Shorts, TikTok now has two competitors with the same maximum video length.

Instagram has also taken the fight to TikTok with the launch of Reels, and the firm plans to expand further into video.

TikTok’s expansion to three minutes could help differentiate the app from its younger rivals, as well as ramp up the competition with streaming giant YouTube. But it may also lose some of the shorter format’s charm — and test the attention span of viewers.

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Tech News

TikTok Jump mini-apps tackle the “last mile” of social video

TikTok is adding mini apps to its videos, with TikTok Jump promising tiny applications and services for quizzes, recipes, tutorials, and more. The goal, TikTok says, is to fill in that “last mile” of learning after you’ve had your appetite whetted by a creator’s video.

So, for example, you might be watching a TikTokker walk through a recipe they’ve been making recently, and then tap into a TikTok Jump app that shows you the ingredients, amounts, and steps to make it yourself. Alternatively, it could be one of the increasingly popular information TikToks, with a link to a TikTok Jump by Wikipedia with extra background detail.

The video-focused social network is partnering with a handful of providers which have already created Jump apps. That includes Whisk, Breathwrk, Wikipedia, Quizlet, StatMuse, and Tabelog. Betas have been in place since earlier in the year, and they’ll be joined by other new providers including BuzzFeed, Jumprope, IRL, and WATCHA in the coming weeks.

What’s interesting is how the Jump apps leverage both existing and original content. “Not only are TikTok creators using Whisk to add recipes previously published online,” Nick Holzherr, Head of Whisk, explains, “they’re also sharing unique TikTok recipes that don’t exist anywhere else.”

If all this is sounding oddly familiar, don’t worry: it’s just the ouroboros of social networking chewing down on its own tail again. In this case, TikTok Jump sounds a whole lot like Snap Minis, the little HTML5 applications that the company added to Snapchat midway through last year. They, too, were billed as tiny applications that paired easy creation with simple functionality

Like Snap Minis, TikTok Jump apps are created in HTML5, with the goal being ease of use. As well as information, there’s support for interaction: you could have a Jump app that helps reserve a table, for example, order food.

Currently, TikTok is taking pre-applications for people and companies interested in creating Jump apps. That includes giving some sort of indication of a potential use-case, such as an existing TikTok video that could’ve benefited from a Jump addition. It’s unclear how rapidly TikTok will be onboarding new providers at this stage, but you should be seeing Jump links showing up in the videos you watch soon, as more creators decide to embed them.

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Tech News

TikTok just expanded ways they can collect data on your face and voice

An update made to TikTok’s privacy policy this week made it technically legal to automatically collect data on you and your activities in the app. This update includes notes about biometric identifiers – like fingerprint scans and “voiceprints”. In the notes, TikTok suggests that they will seek “any required permissions” to get this data, but only “where required by law.”

As spotted by TechCrunch, in the latest version of the US privacy policy for TikTok, you’ll find changes to “Image and Audio Information”. See the Wayback Machine saved image of this change as of June 4, 2021. Scroll to “Information we collect automatically and compare to what was posted as of May 30, 2021.

Removed from this area is a sentence as follows: “We also link your subscriber information with your activity on our Platform across all your devices using your email, phone number, or similar information.” That could be good – maybe TikTok has decided to track users slightly less than they were before – or at least that’s what it looks like if this is the ONLY change you notice. The rest seems to move in the opposite direction.

An entire section was added under “Image and Audio Information.” There, TikTok adds a note that they may collect information “about the images and autio that are a part of your User Content.” TikTok notes that they may collect information by “identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio, and the text of the words spoken in your User Content.”

TikTok notes in their policy that this data may be collected to enable the following:
• Special video effects
• Content moderation
• Demographic classification
• Content recommendations
• Advertising recommendations
• Non-personally-identifying operations

As noted above, TikTok also added a note about how they may “collect biometric identifiers and biometric information.” This may include face-prints and voiceprints “from your User Content.”

They also added a more all-encompassing description of how they may collect information on the devices you use to access TikTok. Before, they included IP address, Unique device identifiers, model, mobile carrier, time zone, screen resolution, OS, app names, file names, file types, “keystroke patterns or rythms”, and platform.

Now, TikTok also includes user agent, network type, “identifiers for advertising purposes,” device IDs, battery state, audio settings, and connected audio devices. They’ve expanded their ability to collect information across devices, to make absolutely sure that if you log in to multiple devices, they will “be able to use your profile information to identify your activity across devices.”

TikTok can also now use “informatiuon collected from devices other than those you use to log-in to the Platform.” That effectively gives them the right to utilize audio that comes from devices connected to your smartphone – like connected microphones, smart speakers, and so forth.


Why should you care if TikTok is expanding the ways in which they can collect data based on your activities on your smartphone while using TikTok? If you knew that TikTok was just as guilty as any other social network of collection user data on you whenever you use the app, you probably won’t care about this newest update. If, however, you had the idea that TikTok was far more private than Facebook, Instagram, or other apps like them – now’s a good time to reconsider how you use the app and the network.

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TikTok Tom Cruise deepfake creator: public shouldn’t worry about ‘one-click fakes’

When a series of spookily convincing Tom Cruise deepfakes went viral on TikTok, some suggested it was a chilling sign of things to come — harbinger of an era where AI will let anyone make fake videos of anyone else. The video’s creator, though, Belgium VFX specialist Chris Ume, says this is far from the case. Speaking to The Verge about his viral clips, Ume stresses the amount of time and effort that went into making each deepfake, as well as the importance of working with a top-flight Tom Cruise impersonator, Miles Fisher.

“You can’t do it by just pressing a button,” says Ume. “That’s important, that’s a message I want to tell people.” Each clip took weeks of work, he says, using the open-source DeepFaceLab algorithm as well as established video editing tools. “By combining traditional CGI and VFX with deepfakes, it makes it better. I make sure you don’t see any of the glitches.”

Ume has been working with deepfakes for years, including creating the effects for the “Sassy Justice” series made by South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone. He started working on Cruise when he saw a video by Fisher announcing a fictitious run for president by the Hollywood star. The pair then worked together on a follow-up and decided to put a series of “harmless” clips up on TikTok. Their account, @deeptomcruise, quickly racked up tens of thousands of followers and likes. Ume pulled the videos briefly but then restored them.

“It’s fulfilled its purpose,” he says of the account. “We had fun. I created awareness. I showed my skills. We made people smile. And that’s it, the project is done.” A spokesperson from TikTok told The Verge that the account was well within its rules for parody uses of deepfakes, and Ume notes that Cruise — the real Tom Cruise — has since made his own official account, perhaps as a result of seeing his AI doppelgänger go viral.

Deepfake technology has been developing for years now, and there’s no doubt that the results are getting more realistic and easier to make. Although there has been much speculation about the potential harm such technology could cause in politics, so far these effects have been relatively nonexistent. Where the technology is definitely causing damage is in the creation of revenge porn or nonconsensual pornography of women. In those cases, the fake videos or images don’t have to be realistic to create tremendous damage. Simply threatening someone with the release of fake imagery, or creating rumors about the existence of such content, can be enough to ruin reputations and careers.

The Tom Cruise fakes, though, show a much more beneficial use of the technology: as another part of the CGI toolkit. Ume says there are so many uses for deepfakes, from dubbing actors in film and TV, to restoring old footage, to animating CGI characters. What he stresses, though, is the incompleteness of the technology operating by itself.

Creating the fakes took two months to train the base AI models (using a pair of NVIDIA RTX 8000 GPUs) on footage of Cruise, and days of further processing for each clip. After that, Ume had to go through each video, frame by frame, making small adjustments to sell the overall effect; smoothing a line here and covering up a glitch there. “The most difficult thing is making it look alive,” he says. “You can see it in the eyes when it’s not right.”

Ume says a huge amount of credit goes to Fisher; a TV and film actor who captured the exaggerated mannerisms of Cruise, from his manic laugh to his intense delivery. “He’s a really talented actor,” says Ume. “I just do the visual stuff.” Even then, if you look closely, you can still see moments where the illusion fails, as in the clip below where Fisher’s eyes and mouth glitch for a second as he puts the sunglasses on.

Blink and you’ll miss it: look closely and you can see Fisher’s mouth and eye glitch.
GIF: The Verge

Although Ume’s point is that his deepfakes take a lot of work and a professional impersonator, it’s also clear that the technology will improve over time. Exactly how easy it will be to make seamless fakes in the future is difficult to predict, and experts are busy developing tools that can automatically identify fakes or verify unedited footage.

Ume, though, says he isn’t too worried about the future. We’ve developed such technology before and society’s conception of truth has more or less survived. “It’s like Photoshop 20 years ago, people didn’t know what photo editing was, and now they know about these fakes,” he says. As deepfakes become more and more of a staple in TV and movies, people’s expectations will change, as they did for imagery in the age of Photoshop. One thing’s for certain, says Ume, and it’s that the genie can’t be put back in the bottle. “Deepfakes are here to stay,” he says. “Everyone believes in it.”

Update March 5th, 12:11PM ET: Updated to note that Ume and Fisher has now restored the videos to the @deeptomcruise TikTok account.

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Tech News

How a TikTok #MeToo trend has empowered teens to speak out about their experiences

A recent TikTok video that has been liked by almost half a million people encourages girls to record themselves putting one finger down for every time they have been sent unsolicited dick pics, begged for nudes, catcalled, repeatedly asked out after already saying no, and forced to do something sexual when they didn’t want to.

Similar videos about sexual assault posted by young women became popular in 2020. The new video is aimed at teens and focuses on sexual harassment. By calling attention to how common sexual harassment is for teen girls, the “Put a finger down: Sexual harassment edition” video has become the 2021 TikTok teen version of the #MeToo movement of 2017.

This trend brings together two nearly universal realities in the lives of teen girls: the ubiquitous presence of social media and the daily barrage of sexual harassment. As a developmental psychologist, I think this trend showcases how teens have developed a modern way of coping with a long-standing problem.

Teens online

Pre-COVID-19, a Pew Research Center poll found almost half of teens in the U.S. reported being online “almost constantly.” Over the past year as they were stuck at home during remote schooling, teens relied on social media even more to cope with the forced social isolation.

Lockdowns and remote learning are especially painful for teens, because they are at the developmental stage when the need to connect with peers is at an all-time high.

At the same time that teens are spending more hours of their day on social media, the content of what is getting posted has become increasingly focused on social issues and “real-life” challenges and worries.

Epidemic of teen sexual harassment

It only makes sense then that a popular post on social media addresses one of the biggest sources of stress in teen girls’ lives: sexual harassment. Research with middle school and high school girls has shown that in fifth grade one out of four adolescents have experienced sexual harassment in the form of sexual comments, jokes, gestures or looks. By eighth grade it is one in two. My colleagues and I have found that 90% of girls have experienced sexual harassment at least once by the end of high school.

It occurs so commonly, and in public spaces like hallways and cafeterias, that by middle school almost all students (96%) have witnessed sexual harassment happening at school. If it isn’t in the school building itself, it is on their phones: four out of five teen girls have had at least one friend who has been asked by a boy to send a “sexy or naked” picture.

These sexual harassment experiences don’t leave girls unscathed. Girls describe sexual harassment as making them feel “dirty – like a piece of trash,” “terrible,” “scared,” “angry and upset” and “like a second-class citizen.” Seventy-six percent of girls report feeling unsafe because they are girls at least once in a while.

The more sexual harassment girls experience, the more likely they are to feel emotional distress, depression and embarrassment, have lowered self-esteem, suffer from substance abuse and have suicidal thoughts. Their attitudes about their bodies become more negative, with many girls not liking their own bodies and starting to have the kinds of eating behaviors that can lead to eating disorders. And the more sexual harassment girls experience, the more likely they are to suffer in school, be absent more often and disengage from academics.

Coping in isolation

Yet, despite the damage it is inflicting, girls rarely talk about their experiences. Even though they report feeling scared, angry, helpless and embarrassed, they rarely report the harassment to teachers or parents and rarely tell the harassers to stop – largely because of worries about the social consequences.

More than 60% of teen girls worry about retaliation, “that the other person would try to get back at” them if they confronted or reported the harasser. More than half of girls worry that people wouldn’t like them if they said something, or worry that people will think they are “trying to cause trouble” or “just being emotional.” Half think they won’t be believed.

So, instead of saying something, more than 60% of teen girls say they try to “forget about” or “ignore” the harassment, chalking it up to “just part of life” as a girl. The problem with trying to ignore sexual harassment is that it does not work. Decades of research on the most effective ways to cope with stressful events shows that seeking social support and confronting the source of the stress are much more effective coping strategies than trying to downplay or ignore the problem.

Virtual – but beneficial – connection

So, while the latest social media hashtag fad might seem trivial, talking about sexual harassment experiences in a TikTok video is likely profoundly beneficial. Teens use social media to connect with others. Research has shown that, although passively scrolling through others’ social media feeds can lead people to negatively compare themselves with others, which can contribute to feeling envious of others’ seemingly better lives, actively using social media – by posting their own thoughts – can increase a person’s sense of social connections.

Social connection, in turn, leads to greater psychological well-being. This social media effect seems especially true for girls: In studies in which girls used social media to honestly talk about themselves, they perceived greater social support, and their well-being and positive feelings got a boost.

This sense of honest social connection is particularly important for teens who have been sexually harassed. Our research has shown that teen girls are more likely to stand up for themselves and confront perpetrators of sexual harassment when they believe their peers support them. If honest disclosures on social media about their experiences help teen girls feel connected with others, they may feel empowered to say something in real life, too.

Putting a spotlight on sexual harassment

Beyond helping the girls who make the videos, this recent social media trend likely also benefits the people watching the videos. The 2017 #MeToo movement made more than half of teen girls feel that they could tell someone about what happened to them. It helped them feel less alone.

It also helps label these pervasive everyday behaviors as problematic. It is good for girls to recognize this doesn’t have to be just a “part of life.”

It is also good for boys to see that girls are not flattered by these behaviors. Our research shows boys sexually harass girls largely because their friends do it and because it becomes the norm. They often think this is how boys are supposed to express romantic interest. Boys are rarely taught what sexual harassment is, and they often don’t realize how upsetting it is to girls.

Maybe these 45-second videos, instead of being just a fad, can be the public service announcement all teens need.

[ Follow @TheConversation on TikTok. ]

This article by Christia Spears Brown, Professor of Psychology, University of Kentucky, is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Tech News

Facebook is now testing Reels…because how else will it beat TikTok?

When TikTok was banned in India last June, Instagram jumped on the short video bandwagon very quickly and launched Reels. The company rolled out the feature globally in August 2020.

Now, its parent company Facebook is integrating Reels in the blue app. The firm is testing the feature in India by giving access to select creators to share Reels they created on Instagram to the Facebook app. If they share the short video, it’ll have their Instagram handle attached to it.

Plus, these users will also get the ability to create short videos using Facebook’s own tools.

While this is in a test phase right now, Zuckerberg & Co. will expectedly release this to the world this year. They would want to do this for two reasons.

First, in India, domestic players such as MX Takatak and ShareChat’s Moj have captured a large number of users.

While Instagram has around 165 million monthly active users in the country, Facebook has more than 350 million active monthly users on its platform. This gives creators direct access to a much larger audience without having to take too much effort.

On the global front, TikTok is still the biggest player in the short videos space. This cross-sharing feature will potentially lure some big-name creators to Facebook’s platform for short video content.

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Published March 9, 2021 — 10:42 UTC

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Tech News

Oh great, now Netflix is copying TikTok too

By now we’ve seen that once a new social media format becomes popular, every app wants to copy it. We saw it happen after everyone and their mothers copied Snapchat’s ephemeral Stories, and now we’re seeing it happen with TikTok-style short videos (which themselves are just copies of OG Vines).

Sometimes though, these features even leave the realm of social media platforms. Case in point: even Netflix is copying TikTok now.

The company today officially unveiled a feature called Fast Laughs — first spotted late last year — which essentially lets you quickly swipe through clips from comedies on the streaming platform.

The feature gets its own tab at the bottom of the mobile app, and lets users play the shows or movies directly from the clip, add them to your watch later list, and share with others. You can also react with a ‘LOL’ to a clip, which I guess is how Netflix is keeping track of how funny the clips actually are.

Although the TikTok format being utilized here seems a little cringy, the goal appears to be helping viewers find something to watch — the eternal challenge of any professional Netflix-er. If the company decided to ahead with the feature after months of testing, it’s fair to assume it found users liked it enough that it was worth keeping — especially considering it features so prominently in the app. Still, I can’t help but wish the feature were a little more, you know, original.

As these things often go, the feature is rolling out to iOS users first. A select few Android users may see it now, but there’s no word on when it might become widely available. The feature also appears to be exclusive to mobile — don’t expect to be able to scroll through Fast Laughs on your TV any time soon.

on Netflix

Read next:

Facebook to lift ban on political ads on Thursday

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