2nd June 2022

POV: Social Platform Updates


Both TikTok and Meta are testing new features for their users to improve their experience, with TikTok creating a distraction-free scrolling experience for its users and Meta trialling new Avatar reactions in Instagram Stories. Both social media giants have also announced a range of new initiatives for Pride Month.

Details and Implications:

TikTok is testing a new feature called ‘Clear Mode’ which would give users a less cluttered viewing experience. The feature, that is in limited testing with a few select users, removes some of the on-screen clutter such as usernames, captions and buttons when viewing content on the app. The intention is to allow for a distraction-free scrolling experience for users.

The users testing the app have access to a Clear Mode option when they tap and hold on a video. They can then tap the Clear Mode button that pops up to turn the mode on and can exit the mode in the same way. If fully rolled out, the new feature could be a welcome addition for people who want to get rid of the clutter on-screen and just focus on the content they’re viewing.  Given it is in a limited testing it is unclear if this will roll out more widely.

Meanwhile, Meta has started testing avatar reactions within Instagram Stories, in a push to make the app more engaging and customise how users can react to Stories. Until now, users have only been able to comment on Stories using emojis, so by adding Avatars, they would be able to create custom characters with a range of sticker responses. It’s another way to get more users creating custom characters that would in turn becoming the default way that you represent yourself online, which will become more important as the Metaverse develops and we shift from an emoji-based communication system to an avatar-based one with individual identities.

Pride Month in June is celebrated in multiple countries around the world and in support, TikTok has announced a range of initiatives and programming to help celebrate. TikTok will broadcast a range of live-streams under the #ForYourPride theme, which aims to highlight the LGBTQIA+ community through direct insights and perspectives. The live-streams will also provide an opportunity to present its latest cohort of LGBTQ+ TikTok Trailblazers.

TikTok will also showcase LGBTQIA+ businesses and SMBs throughout the month via the TikTok For Business and TikTok Small Business channels and there will also be themed hashtags, Pride playlists and creator spotlights providing a range of ways for users to take part in the event.

Meta has also announced a range of new additions for Pride Month, including new stickers and AR activations across its apps, and dedicated VR spaces to highlight queer culture, and showcase the LGBTQ+ community. Users can customize their avatars and avatar stickers with Pride-themed additions, available in Stories on both Facebook and Messenger.


TikTok’s test of Clear Mode appears to point to the fact that the company is putting more focus on longer videos and wants to make the user experience better to support that. Within the past year, TikTok has extended the maximum video length from one minute to 10 minutes. Meta is continuing its metaverse push by finding more ways for people to use digital avatars, make them more engaging and to make it more of a habitual interaction for them and in time could provide new opportunities for Meta to sell virtual items within its evolving spaces and extend advertising opportunities.

TikTok and Meta’s various initiatives and tools for Pride Month will offer ways for brands to show support for Pride Month within the apps.

Further Reading:

The Verge | Social Media Today (TikTok) | Adweek (TikTok Pride) | Social Media Today (Insta) | Social Media today (Meta)

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