Pressure on TikTok Grows from Snap

Although TikTok has won a temporary injunction from the Trump Administration’s effort to bar the company’s collection of U.S. users’ data, the political pressure is now being supplemented by new competition.

Snap, an independent public company, announced the release of Spotlight, a service that will functionally mirror the social video feeds that predominate as TikTok’s content. This is the second major competitor to join the space. In August, Instagram launched its own competitive feature under the name Reals to create its own feed service.

Snap provided this description of the service:

Spotlight shines a light on the most entertaining Snaps created by the Snapchat community, no matter who created them. We built Spotlight to be a place where anyone’s content can take center stage – without needing a public account, or an influencer following. It’s a fair and fun place for Snapchatters to share their best Snaps and see perspectives from across the Snapchat community.

Snap will use algorithms to create user feeds, supplemented by human reviewers. Algorithmic feeds run an inherent risk of sometimes promoting inappropriate, false, or abusive content. Content filters are used to catch a significant percentage of such material, but live editors are much more effective at recognizing such content.

Snap gained a lot of attention for the announcement because it comes at a time when TikTok’s continued operation is uncertain. Snap also announced that it will pay $1 million each day for the top content. That offer is presumably designed to draw content creators away from the competitive platforms. Snap is a U.S. company and not owned by one of the major social media platforms.