TikTok is quietly expanding its use of direct messaging, a feature that’s become a mainstay of rival Instagram. It’s just the latest way TikTok is grafting social network features onto its entertainment feed, as it tries to boost time spent on the app.
On Tuesday, TikTok sent an email to some users to highlight changes it made in November to expand its private messaging settings, according to an email reviewed by The Information. Users who want to receive DMs can now opt in to receive messages from everyone, as well as recommended friends (such as synced phone contacts or Facebook friends), or mutually followed friends (meaning users who follow each other back). Previously, only people users had identified as friends or were recommended could message each other on TikTok.