It appears TikTok is growing its teams that work on messaging features, according to a series of job listings recently posted by the social media company.
Several recent postings for technical and product management roles at TikTok in multiple cities reference its “messaging team,” as well as aims to improve how users can interact with one another and share content on the platform.
TikTok does allow users to direct-message already, via a button on the profile of the user they want to chat with. But the direct messaging feature isn’t as easy to find or seamlessly incorporated into the fabric of TikTok as it is on platforms like Instagram or Snapchat. When users want to share TikTok videos with their friends, they often text the link rather than simply sharing the video in-app.
Growing the teams working on messaging could help the popular short-form video platform — which has long been focused on helping users discover entertaining content from strangers — expand features that allow users to better connect with people they know on the app, too. And it could mark yet another threat from TikTok to rival platforms that have largely been built around linking users with their personal social connections.
The new roles would mark a continuation of work TikTok has been doing to incorporate more tools and features that help users interact and reinforce their real-world connections within the app, including a feed that shows only content from a user’s friends and TikTok Stories.
The messaging job listings were first reported by Axios.
The language in many of the current job listings is relatively vague. Still, one post for an engineering lead for the “TikTok Social” team based in Singapore explains: “We are the messaging team on TikTok. Our team’s mission is to facilitate meaningful user connections through TikTok’s messaging experience, which is still in its infancy.” The post said the role would be responsible for working with other teams to “deliver a distinctive TikTok social solution such as messaging.”
Another posting for an Android software engineer role on the “Social Interaction” team in San Jose, California, says the company wants to enable “users to meet and interact with their real-life friends seamlessly on TikTok.”
Other, similar job listings for the “Social Interaction,” “TikTok Social” and “Social User and Relation” teams in Los Angeles and Singapore note that employees would work on features such as “Story, Video Like, Comment, Friends Tab, Inbox Tab, Repost, TikTok Now,” and aim to encourage “building meaningful social connections between users.”