TikTok considers ditching its ‘Friends’ tab for a new ‘Explore’ experience focused on discovery


Sarah Perez  

Unlike Facebook, TikTok grew in popularity by connecting users with their interests, not their real-life friends and family. In fact, many people today deny the app’s request to upload their contacts because TikTok is a place where they don’t want to interact with people they know. That’s why the company’s decision last year to replace its useful Discover section with a dedicated Friends tab wasn’t all that well-received. Now, it seems TikTok is reconsidering that change. The company confirmed it’s running a test that swaps out its Friends tab — which is also where TikTok’s BeReal clone is found — with a new experience that’s more akin to Instagram’s Explore page.

The change, if rolled out more broadly, could signal the company’s acceptance of the role TikTok plays in the social app ecosystem — one that’s about content discovery, not keeping up with real-world friendships.

TikTok alluded to this mission when it recently launched its new STEM-focused feed in the app, noting that “discovery is essential to the TikTok experience,” and that it’s always looking to help the community uncover “new and relevant content.” The company also earlier this year began an experiment that introduced a major change to the app’s homepage where it expanded beyond its two main feeds, For You and Following, to also include dedicated feeds focused on areas like sports, fashion, gaming and food.

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