YouTube is developing a new “Shorts” feature to compete with social media platform TikTok, according to a report by The Information.
Sources told The Information that the Shorts feature is being developed for YouTube’s mobile app and will include a number of features similar to TikTok.
These include a feed of short videos created by users as well as the ability to add a variety of songs to these short clips thanks to YouTube’s extensive song licensing.
According to the report, the new Shorts feature will be available by the end of 2020.
YouTube did not confirm to The Information whether it was working on the new feature.
The rise of TikTok
TikTok has seen exceptional growth in recent months, bolstered by global popularity amongst teenagers and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which is resulting in a sharp increase in social media and general Internet traffic.
TikTok continues to grow worldwide, and there is an increasing number of South Africans using the application, with mobile networks such as MTN recently launching dedicated TikTok data bundles.
MTN said that while no official figures are available to measure the app’s popularity in South Africa, videos categorised using the hashtag #tiktoksouthafrica have in excess of 400 million views.
The application has surpassed 1 billion and 1.5 billion global downloads on the App Store and Google Play Store respectively.
TikTok is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, which acquired popular short video platform Musical.ly shortly after launching TikTok outside of mainland China.
This greatly contributed to the growth in popularity of TikTok worldwide after the two platforms were merged in August 2018.