Twitter Emulating TikTok with Its New Scrolling Video Viewer

Twitter is the latest social media company to emulate TikTok by introducing an infinite video scroll. Tapping a video will expand it to full screen, which Twitter is calling its “immersive media viewer.” Once opened, users can then scroll up to start browsing. Tapping the back arrow exits the viewer and takes you back to the original tweet. And Twitter is making it easier to find “some of the most popular videos on Twitter” by adding a video carousel in the Explore tab “alongside Tweets and Trends.” The updates are rolling out beginning now, starting on iOS in English-speaking countries.

“People loved it when Instagram did it, right?,” snarks The Verge, alluding to a user revolt after the Meta Platforms company launched a scrolling video makeover this summer, only to dial it back a week later.

“While TikTok is still a huge deal, social media companies haven’t always found success copying it. For every YouTube Shorts, there’s a yanked Instagram redesign,” The Verge cautions, noting that “while Twitter doesn’t seem to be going all-in on copying TikTok like Instagram, it’s definitely a big change; until this point, videos have mostly been treated as parts of tweets,” whereas with this latest change “they’re becoming their own separate experience.”

TechCrunch says Twitter’s approach to a TikTok-like feed “can be seen as a somewhat tolerable one, especially considering that it isn’t directly forcing it onto users,” like it says a previous Twitter test did. “People who like scrollable video feeds can access the immersive view, and users who don’t want a video feed can choose to not open the immersive viewer,” TechCrunch sensibly concludes.

The video push seems as much about monetization as it does “making Twitter the best place for video.” The company specifically mentions “fun movie teasers” as “an important part of that.” While Twitter “has long promoted video, especially live video,” Engadget calls this change “one of the company’s most aggressive moves to push video on its users” and speculates “it could also prove controversial.”

Regarding the Explore tab’s new video carousel, “users will see a new ‘Videos for You’ category that will display popular and trending videos that the app thinks you would be interested in,” TechCrunch writes.

Twitter started testing a video feed similar to TikTok’s model in December. “In this test,” notes TechCrunch, “Twitter turned the entire Explore page into a video feed, complete with a ‘For You’ tab. With the changes announced today, Twitter isn’t focused on replacing the entire Explore page with a TikTok-like feed.”