Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
TikTok is testing a user profile redesign that’s remarkably similar to Instagram. The new profile shifts avatars and follow count to the left, and places more emphasis on user bios. The redesign was first spotted by New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz.
A TikTok spokesperson confirmed the company was testing a redesign to The Verge: ”We’re always looking for ways to improve the user experience on TikTok. We are currently testing profile designs and functionality to ultimately give users more ways to personalize and engage with their profiles.”
Looks like TikTok is redesigning user profiles to look almost exactly like Instagram (new design vs old) pic.twitter.com/uQAHPwaZoh— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 3, 2020
TikTok copying Instagram’s UI is part of a playbook for social networks. They’re constantly “borrowing” ideas and features from their competitors. Instagram itself is no stranger to copying; Instagram Stories famously took Snapchat’s entire model of ephemeral content.
TikTok hit 1.5 billion downloads in November and was the third most-downloaded non-gaming app in 2019 — beating out Facebook and Instagram, which were in fourth and fifth place, respectively. The fast-growing app is clearly on Facebook’s radar; Facebook owns Instagram, which is currently testing a video editing tool in Brazil called Reels. Reels, in turn, copies TikTok’s best features like speed adjustment and the ability to borrow audio from other videos.
If TikTok does end up rolling out the Instagram-like profile design to all its users, it could be the start of all social networks feeling exactly the same — especially if Instagram decides to copy the best parts of TikTok, too.