When news hit that the Trump administration was contemplating a TikTok ban, all kinds of alternative apps saw an opportunity. After TikTok was banned in India, Instagram’s Reels swooped in to fill in the vacuum. Byte, which was created by one of Vine’s original masterminds, saw a major spike in downloads following the news of a potential ban.
While Instagram and Youtube each have their own answer to TikTok, Reels and Shorts have both been in the works for a few months but have struggled to replicate TikTok’s success. In the eventuality that there is a ban, people might not want to start over on a new platform. This could provide an opportunity for apps like Snapchat to capitalize on users looking for a TikTok replacement.
Snapchat is working on testing a new feature that would make the app feel more like TikTok. According to TechCrunch, the platform confirmed it’s working on a vertical swipe to navigate through publicly available content. This would enable users to swipe through Snapchat’s Discover content the way they swipe through their TikTok feeds.
While Snapchat remained tight-lipped on the experimental feature, a spokesperson told Refinery29 over email, “We’re always experimenting with new ways to bring immersive and engaging content to our mobile-first Snapchat community.”
It would make sense for people to turn to Snapchat if TikTok wasn’t an option. If we learned anything from the recent drama involving Hype House and Sway House members, it’s that whatever didn’t happen on TikTok, went down on Snapchat. And it’s well-known that apart from TikTok, Snapchat is cornering the Gen Z market.
TikTok or no TikTok, this new feature – if implemented – could make Snapchat that much more enticing. And if 2020 does its thing and gives the US a TikTok-less world, the vertical swipe will make it a formidable alternative.
Refinery29 reached out to Snapchat for comment and will update this post when we hear back.