TikTok is testing a repost feature that would allow you to send share-worthy videos into your friends’ For You pages. It’s a frictionless way for users to curate videos for their followers — and a move that parallels the TikTok precursor Vine.
Before it shut down in 2016, Vine offered a “revine” feature that facilitated a new class of curation-focused creators. Instagram, too, allows users to share posts on Stories, and Twitter’s retweet is a foundational feature of the platform. While TikTok previously only filled its user feeds with algorithmically curated, eerily personalized content, the algorithm’s stronghold is loosening to give way to human-selected content.
A notable difference between revine and TikTok’s reshare is that reshares only go to mutuals. Massive accounts can’t make a quick buck by blasting out spammy reshares— even if an account has millions of followers, the only people that see reshares are accounts that a creator follows back (usually a few hundred or thousand).
As TikTok introduces the option for users to supplement their mutuals’ algorithmically-curated feeds, it ushers in a new focus on friendship. Unlike services such as Instagram and Facebook, TikTok didn’t emerge to connect individuals who are already offline friends. Instead, it functions to catapult normal people into brief, viral sensations; it fills For You pages with unique assortments of relatable strangers. You can follow your friends, of course, but that doesn’t guarantee that your For You page will show you each item they post.
The friend-to-friend TikTok curation will be elevated into the main feed, but it’s already been happening. There’s a side of TikTok that can be more “for you” than the For You Page itself: direct messages. Much of my time on the app is spent in DMs watching the videos that my friends maniacally curate for me. Messages are a fun, more private side of the app that helps me keep up with old friends. Sometimes sending an inexplicable viral video says “hey, I’m thinking of you and I hope you’re doing well!” better than words ever could.