TikTok wants to make retweets happen on the app, but it’s not Twitter

By Shannon Flynn

Published Jan 19, 2022 at 11:31 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

TikTok is getting a new feature that looks a lot like an old one. The retweet feature has been a staple of Twitter since the button was added back in 2009. Now the video-sharing app is beta testing a new “Repost” button that most users are already calling TikTok’s retweet.

Many users are wondering how reposting works on TikTok and how it’s different from retweeting. The feature isn’t available yet to all of TikTok’s 1 billion active users, but those in the beta programme have shed some light on the subject. To see if you’re part of the beta community, tap the “share” button on a TikTok video from your For You Page (FYP), where the new repost button will show up.

How does TikTok’s retweet work?

TikTok’s repost feature allows users to share videos with mutual followers with the tap of a single button. The new yellow option can be found in the “Share” menu for certain videos, alongside users’ friends’ icons.

You can add a comment with the reposted video, but it won’t post as your own content. The original creator will still get any likes or comments the reposted video receives. In this way, reposting is similar to retweeting on Twitter.

Only certain videos can be reposted, though. Right now, the feature is only available on videos that appear on the FYP. Videos from your “Following” feed, searches, or your inbox won’t have the option for reposting.

Unlike duets and stitching, reposting a video doesn’t require you to create your own additional content. This is part of TikTok’s motivation for adding the feature. People who use TikTok more casually or prefer not to post content themselves will enjoy the convenience of the TikTok retweet.

Who can see reposted videos?

Visibility is where TikTok’s reposts differ most from Twitter’s retweets. Unlike a retweet, a repost doesn’t show up on your profile. In fact, it won’t even be visible to all of your followers. Only mutual followers can see reposted videos, meaning people you follow who also follow you back. For most of us, this includes friends and family.

This makes reposting an easy way of sharing a video with multiple friends on TikTok without having to send it to each of them individually. It appears that this is what the app intends the feature to be used for, rather than promotion.

What does the repost button mean for creators?

TikTok’s retweet twin could be a great feature for creators. However, the app appears to have thought ahead to prevent the new repost feature from being abused. This is clearly reflected in its design.

If a creator is trying to boost their own video, reposting it over and over won’t do much good since it would just be going out to their mutual followers. The same anti-abuse design prevents bloated mutual reposting as often seen in “follow for follow” requests around social media.

Reposting does help creators, though. It allows other users to easily share and promote creators’ content. The real creator value lies in the power of their audience to spread their videos with the tap of a button.

Since TikTok’s retweet is so much easier than sending a video to individual, specific friends, content creators could increase their reach through reposts. Increased video sharing may help creators build a valuable brand reputation since their content can easily reach far beyond their own followers. Growth for creators could even potentially be accelerated by such a feature.

While TikTok still hasn’t fully revealed the specifics about how its algorithm works, reposts will likely be a beneficial factor. Videos that get reposted more often may get recommended to more new users through the algorithm, especially since they are coming from users’ FYP to begin with. Just how much reposting impacts a video’s favour with the TikTok algorithm remains to be seen, though.

TikTok reposts the retweet

While TikTok seems to be taking a card from Twitter’s deck here, its version of the retweet has some refreshing differences. The repost feature is designed to prevent abuse and spam while also giving a genuinely useful update to users. By limiting the reach of the button, the app has created a new way for creators to grow their platforms and a convenient option for users to safely and casually share their favourite videos.

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