TikTok is killing off its BeReal clone TikTok Now, according to notifications being sent to users. Multiple Twitter users have posted screenshots of the message in different languages, which says that ByteDance is “updating the TikTok experience and [is] discontinuing TikTok Now.” News of its discontinuation comes a little over nine months after TikTok Now was officially announced, although it’s unclear exactly when the feature will disappear for good.
TikTok Now was launched in September with the stated aim of fostering “authentic and spontaneous connections on TikTok.” But it was hard to ignore the fact that its format (asking users to capture a moment once a day using the front and back cameras of their phone) was all but identical to BeReal, which exploded in popularity last year.
TikTok’s twist was that TikTok Now supported up to 10-second-long videos in addition to just still photos. In the US, TikTok Now has been available in the main TikTok app, while owner ByteDance also launched a dedicated TikTok Now app in other regions around the world. Social media consultant Matt Navarra confirmed to The Verge that he was shown the notification announcing the discontinuing of TikTok Now within the main TikTok app on iOS.
Although TikTok’s notification doesn’t give an exact reason for why TikTok Now is being discontinued, it’s hard to ignore the fact that BeReal isn’t the viral sensation it once was. “They’re over being real,” was The New York Times’ conclusion in April, when it cited a 61 percent drop in BeReal daily active users between October 2022 and March 2023 according to third-party data. Per Apptopia, user numbers had dropped from around 15 million to under six million people in March, the NYT reported.
Although BeReal disputes these numbers (“BeReal has over 20 million daily active users around the world” it wrote in April), anecdotally I’m seeing far fewer mentions of the app on social media platforms these days. Regardless of the exact figures, it feels like the viral spotlight has moved on.
TikTok hasn’t been the only social media company to experiment with adding BeReal-style features to its app. SnapChat launched a dual-camera feature in August, which traded the daily notification and limits of BeReal for more editing and layout options. Meanwhile Instagram has also been testing its own take on the feature called “Candid Stories.” My colleague Casey Newton has taken to referring to these kinds of copycat features as “murder clones.” In other words, they represent an attempt by dominant social media apps to fend off would-be competitors by aping their unique features.
A spokesperson for TikTok did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment. As of this writing, the service’s support page about TikTok Now has not been updated to mention a shutdown.
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