TikTok gets auto captions – A feature Instagram is already busy replicating

TikTok has introduced a new feature that gives a huge boost to the accessibility aspect on its platform – auto captions. As the name makes it abundantly clears, users with hearing impairment will now be able to see automatically generated captions for videos they’re watching. The new trick will also come in handy for regular users when it comes to watching videos in scenarios where they can’t turn on the volume.

Creators can edit these captions, while viewers to can choose to see them or not

To show captions on a video, creators have to enable the automatic captioning feature after they’ve uploaded their video. The aforementioned option appears on the editing page, where creators can also edit the automatically generated captions to more accurately represent what is being said in their videos. TikTok says that captions are a part of videos, however, viewers will have the option to turn them off or on.

Tiktok captions

In order to turn off these automatically generated captions, open the share panel, tap on the new captions button and select the off option. Auto captions currently offer support only for English and Japanese. However, TikTok says it is working to add support for more languages so that it can be helpful for users speaking varied languages from all across the world in the coming months.

The new auto-captioning feature will complement the text-to-speech feature that is already accessible to users. A few other accessibility features that are available on TikTok include the ability to show warning for content that may trigger a photosensitive epilepsy response as well as the ability to filter out such content and prevent it from appearing in your content feed.

However, TikTok’s archrival Instagram is also testing its own version of automatic video captioning. The Facebook-owned company confirmed last week that automatic captioning is currently being tested internally, but there is no word when it will be released widely for all users. Zoom recently made its auto-captioning feature free for all users, while Google’s Live Captions feature is already available widely, even for audio and video calls on Pixel phones.

 

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Instagram clones another viral TikTok feature for Reels, which itself is a copycat

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Irrespective of whether you’re a TikTok stan or an Instagram fan from its early days, there is something that users of both platforms can agree upon – Instagram has been ripping off TikTok and its popular features for a while now. Instagram recently mimicked TikTok’s short-form video format and created Reels. And now, Instagram is copying the Duet feature from TikTok and is adding it to Reels under a different name. Instagram is calling this ‘new’ feature Remix.

Say hello to Remix

If you’re unfamiliar, Duet allows users to react to another video by posting their own video side-by-side. Instagram is replicating the same formula with Remix for Reels. “Now you can use the Remix feature in Reels to create your own reel next to one that already exists,” says the Facebook-owned company.

In order to create a Remix, open on a Reels video, tap on the menu (three-dot icon in the top-right corner) and then select Remix This Reel option from the window that pops up. Now, you’ll see a vertical side-by-side layout of the original Reel and your own view on the right to record your reaction. You can add background audio, use creative effects and alter the playback speed among other things while creating a Remix.

Rules for Remixing a Reel are Really Weird

Users can Remix their own Reels, but they can’t remix a remixed Reel.

However, a creator has to allow remixing their Reels for others to create a Remix of it. Users can Remix their own Reels, but they can’t do the same with a video that is already a Remix. In case someone creates a Remix of your Reel, Instagram will notify you about the same. Moreover, Remixes of your Reels will get deleted if you set your account to Private type for more than 24 hours.

A weird caveat is that if someone has created a Remix of your Reel, they can download the video. However, you can’t download that Remix video. Also, if you disable remixing of your Reels, all remixes created before you changed the settings will continue to exist on Instagram, unless you delete your original Reel. You can check out the detailed instruction on how you can enable or disable remixing of your Reels on the official support page.

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TikTok will force personalized ads on users starting April 15

With each passing quarter, TikTok sets a new growth benchmark, filling its coffers with more money and making lucrative deals riding a wave of unprecedented growth. Sounds familiar to what giants like Instagram once enjoyed? Well, TikTok is following in the footsteps a little too well, and the best example of that ‘inspiration’ is a privacy policy update around ads that will force users to watch personalized ads starting. 

READ MORE: TikTok will ask users to reconsider before they post offensive comments

You can't escape ads based on your TikTok activity starting April 15

TikTok users have started seeing a new notification when they open the app, telling them about a change in the ad settings that will show them ads based on their activity on TikTok. Previously, users were able to opt out of seeing personalized ads based on their in-app activity.

“You will still have control over whether ads can be more tailored to you based on data from our advertising partners.”

So, what is changing exactly with ads?

Well, personalized ads are served in two ways – based on your TikTok activity and based on user data collected by advertisers. So far, TikTok users could opt out of both. Starting April 15, you won’t be able to block ads shown to you based on your TikTok activity. However, TikTok will still give you a choice if you want to see ads based on user data accessible to its advertising partners. 

It's nothing new. Rival social media platform follow the same path!

“Our goal is to help businesses reach the people they care about in a creative and meaningful way, while also respecting the privacy of our users,” a TikTok spokesperson was quoted as saying by Recode. It appears that TikTok wants to set things straight about its tracking and ad policies with users before Apple’s updated rules in iOS 14 go live, forcing each app to ask users for explicit permission when it comes to tracking them for showing targeted ads.  

 

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Tiktok, Instagram, Pinterest add features to support those with eating disorders

As part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 22-28), social media apps are teaming up with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to provide support and resources to people who are dealing with eating disorders. Both TikTok and Instagram are marking National Eating Disorders Awareness Week with features to encourage body inclusivity. Additionally, Instagram is adding links to local helplines in Australia, Canada and the UK.

On Instagram, if someone tries to share said content or if their friends see them post something concerning, they will see the same set of resources. The platform will enable users to contact their friends for support from the resource landing page. Further, the company will continue to blur out content it thinks may trigger someone with an eating disorder.

Moreover, Pinterest has announced that it will help raise awareness and build communities of support and recovery for those in need. Pinterest will be donating ad credits to encourage people to tune into NEDAwareness Week events and the different roundtables taking place. Furthermore, Story Pins will also be used to generate awareness on the platform, along with a feature educating Pinners about eating disorders communication and recovery on the Today Tab.

On TikTok, if someone searches for terms like “eating disorder,” “edrecovery” (eating disorder recovery), or “proana” (pro-anorexia), they will get a  link to support resources along with NEDA contact details. TikTok has developed advice alongside experts on eating disorders on “how to identify negative self-talk, think about one’s own positive attributes and strengths or support a friend who may be struggling.” and will offer them to users. Furthermore, NEDA has teamed up with TikTok to create public service announcements, which will appear on pages for hashtags such as #whatieatinaday, #emotionaleatingtips, #bingerecovery. These will also include contact details for NEDA.

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TikTok inks multi-year deal with UFC to produce exclusive content

TikTok is on the rise, and despite a host of setbacks and intense scrutiny over privacy fears lately, the viral short-form video-sharing app continues to reach new milestones. Now, the company is partnering with Ultimate Fighting Championship, popularly known as UFC to fans – the world’s top mixed martial arts promotion company – in a multi-year deal that will see TikTok produce exclusive content.

TikTok will offer livestreams for pre-and post-fight content and behind the scenes footage

In a press release, the social media juggernaut announced that it will offer exclusive livestream content following its partnership with UFC. The scope of exclusive UFC content offered by TikTok includes weekly livestreams with access to pre-and post-fight content, behind-the-scenes footage, and engagement with UFC athletes. The TikTok-exclusive content will be delivered via the official UFC TikTok handle (@UFC), as well as @UFCRussia, @UFCBrasil, and @UFCEurope.

“With more than 6.3 million followers on TikTok, @UFC has become the third most-followed sports league since joining the platform in October 2019. Building on this momentum, UFC will dedicate resources at their Las Vegas headquarters to provide the TikTok community with unprecedented access and bring them closer to UFC than ever before.”

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: BLAYDES vs. LEWIS on Sunday will mark the start of this partnership

The first fruit of TikTok’s multi-year deal with UFC will arrive this week covering the upcoming UFC FIGHT NIGHT: BLAYDES vs. LEWIS event that will kick off on February 20. The event, which goes live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, will have some exclusive content for TikTok’s audience.

This collaboration is a great way to drive awareness to our tent pole live events while delivering compelling content to our fans, 24/7,” said David Shaw, who is UFC’s Senior Vice President of International and Content.

UFC signed a multi-year broadcast deal with ESPN worth over a billion dollars not too long ago, and continues to milk some serious cash from its live events that regularly attract a high-profile audience with some big names occupying seats in the front row. With the TikTok deal, UFC can now tap into the viral popularity of TikTok and bring its content to a whole new audience comprising mostly of youngsters.

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ByteDance might sell Indian TikTok assets

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ByteDance is said to be in talks to sell its India operations of TikTok in a bid to rival unicorn Glance. According to a new report, the company is in discussions with Japan’s SoftBank Group conglomerate. As per the sources, the talks are private as well as early and complex. For the unaware, SoftBank is a backer of Glance’s parent InMobi Pte as well as TikTok’s Chinese parent, ByteDance.

As per a new report from Bloomberg, ByteDance is in talks with SoftBank conglomerate to sell its TikTok India assets. The talks involve four sides including SoftBank, ByteDance, Glance, and the Indian authorities, which will decide the fate of the deal. The report goes on to say that SoftBank has been attempting to salvage TikTok’s India assets. Further, it has been hunting for local partners.

If the talks progress, it will require the Indian government to authorise the sale. It is likely to insist that user data and technology of TikTok stay within the Indian borders. That’s because, India-China relationship hasn’t been very well lately. The relations between New Delhi and Beijing remain strained. The sources said that India will make no allowances for China-based technology companies. Furthermore, any sale of TikTok could need approval from Chinese authorities.

TikTok’s potential partner, Bangalore-headquartered Glance Digital Experience is a mobile content platform. Glance has a TikTok competitor named Roposo, which has seen a massive growth after the TikTok ban in India.

In June last year, The Indian government’s Ministry of Information Technology banned a total of 59 Chinese apps in the country, which also included the famous short-video sharing app TikTok. It also banned the likes of CamScanner, Shareit, Mobile Legends, UC Browser, and Weibo. Later, PUBG Mobile suffered the same fate. The press release claimed that these apps pose a threat to national security and public order, and are ‘prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India’.

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ByteDance might sell Indian TikTok assets

It's only fair to share...Share on RedditShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

ByteDance is said to be in talks to sell its India operations of TikTok in a bid to rival unicorn Glance. According to a new report, the company is in discussions with Japan’s SoftBank Group conglomerate. As per the sources, the talks are private as well as early and complex. For the unaware, SoftBank is a backer of Glance’s parent InMobi Pte as well as TikTok’s Chinese parent, ByteDance.

As per a new report from Bloomberg, ByteDance is in talks with SoftBank conglomerate to sell its TikTok India assets. The talks involve four sides including SoftBank, ByteDance, Glance, and the Indian authorities, which will decide the fate of the deal. The report goes on to say that SoftBank has been attempting to salvage TikTok’s India assets. Further, it has been hunting for local partners.

If the talks progress, it will require the Indian government to authorise the sale. It is likely to insist that user data and technology of TikTok stay within the Indian borders. That’s because, India-China relationship hasn’t been very well lately. The relations between New Delhi and Beijing remain strained. The sources said that India will make no allowances for China-based technology companies. Furthermore, any sale of TikTok could need approval from Chinese authorities.

TikTok’s potential partner, Bangalore-headquartered Glance Digital Experience is a mobile content platform. Glance has a TikTok competitor named Roposo, which has seen a massive growth after the TikTok ban in India.

In June last year, The Indian government’s Ministry of Information Technology banned a total of 59 Chinese apps in the country, which also included the famous short-video sharing app TikTok. It also banned the likes of CamScanner, Shareit, Mobile Legends, UC Browser, and Weibo. Later, PUBG Mobile suffered the same fate. The press release claimed that these apps pose a threat to national security and public order, and are ‘prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India’.

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Pocketnow Daily: Apple’s March Event Seems PACKED! (video)

Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy Z Fold 2 and more devices are on sale

Apple’s latest M1 13-inch MacBook Pro, LG monitors are on sale today

OnePlus 8, the Pixel 4 and more Android phones are also on sale today

And what that means is that we have more Valentine’s Day deals for you because you should take advantage of them, with or without a partner. Starting with Samsung, the Galaxy S21 is still available for just $99 if you get it Unlocked with a trade-in and you also get $50 off instant credit for accessories. The S21+ is also available for as low as $199 with an extra $75 in credit, and the S21 Ultra is still going for $399 with $100 in instant credit. And by the way, don’t forget that SUPCASE is still our favorite choice for device protection. Use promo code 10POCKETNOW on Amazon to get 10% off the Award Winning UB Pro, or use promo code POCKETNOW15 on SUPCASE.com for a 15% discount as well. Moving on to the M1 MacBook Pro, it is currently available for $100 off on both Amazon and B&H, leaving the entry level model for $1200 shipped. OnePlus also has the regular 8 for $100 off, meaning it starts at $699 for both color variants. The T-Mobile variant of the 7T is also available for $200 off, leaving that at $399. Finally, if you’re looking for a Google Pixel, the Pixel 4 is $250 off its original price tag, leaving the entry level variant for $549. And guys, we have more deals on LG monitors which are some of my favorites, Dell Laptops, other Pixels and more in the links in the description.

TikTok sale to Walmart and Oracle shelved

Let’s move the spotlight on to TikTok which, had a very interesting end to their 2020. If you remember, back in September, the company reached a deal with Oracle and Walmart, to avoid the US ban that was being imposed on them. The deal was approved by the administration but, when the sale deadline came on December 4th, the government gave them no response so the deal was left off in kind of a limbo. Now, it looks like the new President of the US has different plans. According to the Wall Street Journal, TikTok’s deal with Oracle and Walmart has been put on hold “indefinitely”. Apparently the new President is reviewing the past efforts which were based on handling security risks from Chinese tech companies. Now, the officials haven’t ruled out anything just yet but it looks like the sale might not happen at all. However, the new administration might have to make a decision pretty soon as, they are supposed to deliver a formal response before February 18th as part of TikTok’s lawsuit. We’ll see how this evolves next week as, we know that they might end up selling or, simply making changes to the app and the algorithm it uses to recommend you videos as, that wouldn’t be sold.

First signs of a Samsung Galaxy S21 FE aka Fan Edition have emerged

Moving on back to Samsung, a couple of weeks ago we covered how the company might already be working on the S21 FE but, that was kind of a reach and most likely just an LTE variant of the S21. However, we have a new report from SamMobile, showing off the model number of a new Samsung device which reportedly belongs to the S21 Fan Edition. Now, the report mentions that Samsung hasn’t launched LTE variants of their flagships just yet, so they’re assuming that they’re only trying to streamline things by bringing this model number of the Galaxy S21 FE in line with the rest of the Galaxy S21 models, basically to throw us off. Now, it is pretty early in the year when compared to when we got the S20 FE, but we are expecting the specs on this phone to include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870, a similar camera to the Galaxy S21 Trio, 5G and of course, a high refresh rate AMOLED display. The report also mentions that Samsung might go the same route by bringing a wide array of bright color options, to market it in the same way they did last fall. So yeah, let’s hope we get this phone somewhat soon as the S20 FE was a great pick last year.

This is what we could expect from Apple’s new mixed reality headset

Let’s move on to Cupertino for the rest of the show, beginning with their upcoming Mixed Reality headset as, we’ve had a ton of leaks in the past 2 weeks. Now, we have some new patents for this headset which were made public yesterday. This headset is listed as a “Head-Mounted Display Unit with Adaptable Facial Interface” and it explains how the design elements can prevent the headset from moving around when the person moves while providing a comfortable fit. Now, there’s a ton of technical jargon here so, apparently it’ll feature at least one eye tracking camera, an illumination source that emits infrared light to the user’s eyes, and a diffraction grating located in the eye pieces. Other details mention over a dozen cameras, to help achieve the eye tracking, as well as the 8K displays, making everything look as good as possible. Another image on the patents show that this might work in a Tony Stark kind of way where, it will display a 3D text generation and editing GUI in a virtual spaces, which includes a virtual screen for you to enter or edit text in documents via a keypad from the input device. Apparently the text document or area can be placed and moved to various depths in your 3D virtual space. Very Michael Fisher Iron Man if you ask me. We should expect this headset as soon as next year and priced at $3000 to compete with Microsoft’s solution… which sounds all enterprise.

Story of the day:

Apple’s next-gen iPad Pro and AirTags object tracker rumored to arrive next month

Finally, for the hottest news today, let’s talk Apple leaks as, we’re due some products. Earlier today Jon Prosser went on an answering and tweeting spree where he gave us some new information on when we should expect some things. First off, let’s get iPhone 13 out of the way as, someone asked him if Touch ID was still coming to iPhones this year, and Prosser simply replied “Yup”. Now, moving on to other products and their launch dates, he tweeted out that AirTags, which have been ready for months now, are still slated to launch in March. Of course this isn’t set in stone but, he claims that his sources haven’t mentioned any further delays this time. Meaning it should finally be a done deal. Now, speaking of March, someone also asked him about a new iPad Pro with Prosser replying that we should also expect it in March as far as he knows. Now, to expand on these products, we’re expecting the AirTags to be Tile-like tackers that will help you keep track of your belongings. And yes, you’ll most likely have to attach them to a third party accessory to carry it around. When it comes to the iPad, we’re expecting a similar design to the current iPad Pro with the dual camera at the back, the boxy design, Face ID and we really hope this is the debut of mini-LED displays. Finally, for iPhone 13, we’re expecting a shorter notch, Touch ID and upgraded cameras for all 4 models this year.
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TikTok sale to Walmart and Oracle shelved

Last year in September, TikTok reached a deal with Oracle and Walmart to avoid its US ban. The Trump administration had approved the deal, which was supposed to effectively establish a new company called TikTok Global headquartered in the US. Tiktok was given the December 4 sale deadline, which came and went with no response from the outgoing Trump administration. Reportedly, Trump also demanded that the US Treasury get a “lot of money” from any sale.

Now, it seems like President Biden has other plans. According to Wall Street Journal sources, TikTok’s forced sale to Oracle and Walmart has been put on hold “indefinitely”. The step comes as Biden reviews past efforts to handle security risks from Chinese technology companies. While the officials haven’t ruled out a sale, it might happen under different terms or might not happen at all.

The Biden administration might make a decision on TikTok soon. The government is yet to offer a formal response to TikTok’s legal challenge against the divestiture on February 18. We are yet to see what the official stance will be.

TikTok is said to be in talks with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) to resolve security concerns. It is being reported that an alternative to a sale might involve sending data to a “trusted” third party in a bid to combat the allegations of sending Americans’ information to the Chinese government. However, the Chinese government would prevent TikTok parent ByteDance from exporting the algorithms the app uses to recommend videos.

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TikTok arrives on Android TV because doom-scrolling deserves a giant screen

TikTok now has an Android TV app. Yes, if you needed more reason to waste time watching videos of cats raising hell or some dude on his skateboard drinking cranberry juice on a much larger screen, you’re in luck. The TikTok for Android TV app is currently live on the Play Store and is available to install on smart TVs. However, the availability appears to be region locked at the time of writing this. But this is not TikTok’s first large-screen adventure, as Samsung smart TVs landed the short-form video-sharing app back in December last year.

You can watch TikTok videos on your smart TV even without logging in

So, coming back to TikTok’s arrival on Android TVs, it claims to offer a ‘personalized video feed based on what you watch, like and share.’ As per a Reddit thread, some users encountered a region unavailability error when they tried to log in to their TikTok account. A few others mentioned that the app won’t work in the US or South-East Asian countries, and doesn’t work with a Xiaomi Mi Box S or NVIDIA Shield. However, Android Police claims that they got in working in the UK.

Image: EFTM

The folks over at EFTM were also able to get the TikTok app working on an Android TV by sideloading the APK in Australia, as the official Play Store install doesn’t appear to be working for users Down Under. Also, it appears that you don’t necessarily have to log-in for watching TikTok videos. However, there is an option to log-in to your TikTok account by scanning a QR code if you want to primarily watch videos posted by the accounts you follow.

The log-in process via QR code scanning pretty simple. No password needed!

EFTM’s report adds that videos do not loop by default and play in portrait orientation, just like they would do on the mobile app. Clicking right skips to the next video, while clicking the down button opens the likes and comments section. Pressing the down button twice brings up the categories section. While watching a video, information such as view count and title appear on the left side, while music details sit below.

Image: EFTM

Once you install the TikTok for Android TV app, it will appear under the My Apps section on your Android TV. When the app launches on your smart TV for the first time, you can choose between the ‘Watch Now’ option to start watching random curated videos without having to log in to your TikTok account, and a ‘Log In’ button below it. You can download the TikTok for Android TV app from the Play Store or sideload the APK here.

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TikTok will label videos that contain unverified information

TikTok already has a content monitoring system that checks videos for harmful or misleading content, and gets them removed if deemed necessary. In some scenarios though, the information in a video might fall in a grey area where its accuracy and veracity can not be fully ascertained. And even they are not removed, TikTok prevents them from appearing in the For You feed. For the latter class, TikTok is now adding an extra layer of precaution by informing users if a video contains unverified information.

Both viewers and creators will be warned if a video contains unverified information

TikTok’s audience will now see a label at the top of such videos that clearly says that it has been flagged for unverified content. And this applies not just for viewers, but creators as well. The company will also inform creators of these videos that an ‘unverified content’ label has been added to their video. As mentioned above, these videos won’t be deleted after being flagged and others will be able to view them too, but with a label on top warning them about its potentially misleading contents.

Image: TikTok

Going a step further, TikTok will also ask users to do a double check before sharing videos with an ‘unverified content’ logo slapped on top. When users attempt to share such videos, they’ll see a prompt telling them about it has been flagged and if they still want to go ahead and share it with others. “Sometimes fact checks are inconclusive or content is not able to be confirmed, especially during unfolding events,” explains the company regarding the type of videos that will be labeled.

TikTok's new safety tools starts rolling out today

TikTok says during its initial test run, viewership of videos with an ‘unverified content’ label on top dropped by 24%, while their like count went down by 7%. The new safety tool will begin rolling out starting today in the US and Canada, and will expand to the global audience in the weeks to come.

TikTok is taking inspiration from Twitter

TikTok is borrowing a page from Twitter’s books here. Back in June last year, Twitter began testing a new feature that would ask users to first read an article before retweeting it, urging them to actually go through its contents before amplifying its reach. A few months later, Twitter expanded these prompts to its global audience in a bid to curb the spread of misleading and inflammatory content.

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TikTok is testing a Q&A feature to make life easier for creators

When it comes to social media platforms, Q&A are a great solution for celebrities and creators to engage with their fan base. And it is a particularly useful tool for up-and-coming stars to get in touch with their followers to answer their queries and create a loyal fan base. Realizing the potential, TikTok has started testing its very own Q&A feature globally. However, it is currently limited to a small bunch of accounts with over 10,000 followers, and will reportedly be rolled out widely in the weeks to come.

Wider rollout is planned in the coming weeks

Screenshots of TikTok’s new Q&A trick were shared by social media evangelist Matt Navarra on Twitter, and the feature’s in-test status was later confirmed officially by the company to TechCrunch. As per the screenshots, creators will be able to add a dedicated Q&A button o their profile that will appear as a red ‘Q&A’ text with a chat icon to their followers.

Additionally, the Q&A button will also appear in a video’s comments section as well. When someone asks a question, creators will be able to answer it via video or a simple text-based reply. Of course, it is up to the creator to answer each one of them or just a select few (which is usually the case).

READ MORE: TikToks and Reels will now appear in Google App for mobile devices

Also, the Q&A button will appear for both video as well as livestream content. Plus, there is apparently no limit to the number of questions that a creator gets sent their way via the new feature. “Where available, users will be able to designate their comments as questions by tapping the Q&A button in a video’s comment field, or they can submit questions directly through the Q&A link on the creator’s profile page,” says the TechCrunch report.

As mentioned above, the new Q&A feature on TikTok is being tested among creators with over 10,000. At the moment, it is an opt-in functionality, but it is available globally. As for a wider rollout, the company has just given a vague ‘in the weeks ahead’ schedule.

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