At this point, we’re all pretty used to seeing Instagram copy TikTok. Now, in a new twist, TikTok is copying Instagram with a new feature called “Photo Mode.” The update allows TikTok users to share multiple still photos in a post, along with captions of up to 2,200 characters.
The new photo posts, which can also feature music, will appear in users’ For You page alongside videos. In a blog post, TikTok says it hopes Photo Mode, combined the recently-extended character count, will allow creators to “express themselves and more deeply connect with others.”
But Photo Mode is also making the For You Page more like Instagram in ways that may not be as creative. According to Mashable, the feature is already being used by creators to share recycled text memes and other content that’s often popular on... Instagram.
But TikTok now copying Instagram’s original premise is especially noteworthy given that Instagram has reportedly been struggling with engagement with its TikTok clone, Reels. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that TikTok is still vastly outpacing Instagram Reels in daily watch time.
It’s also the latest bout of every social media platform shamelessly copying each other until they all look kind of the same. In the last six weeks alone: Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat have come up with their own take on French upstart BeReal (Instagram’s hasn’t formally launched yet). Twitter introduced a TikTok-style feed for full-screen videos. While YouTube Shorts, itself a TikTok clone, added TikTok-style voice overs.