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View: Recent developments from TikTok and Meta indicate a shift towards a more standardized internet landscape.

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The internet’s dominant platforms are gradually converging into a homogeneous mass, and even the most successful companies are not immune to this trend. TikTok, renowned for its focus on short-form, vertical videos, is now looking to expand its offering by introducing a new feature called TikTok Notes, enabling users to share images, a move aimed at competing with Instagram’s signature static-photo sharing feature. This strategy echoes Meta’s approach, as the parent company of Instagram and other services frequently integrates features from rival platforms into its own offerings. This trend is pervasive across the social media landscape, with various platforms adopting successful formats pioneered by their competitors.

The rationale behind this trend is clear: by broadening their feature sets, platforms aim to increase user engagement and, consequently, revenue. However, there’s a risk of feature bloat, which can compromise the user experience and lead to a loss of uniqueness over time. This phenomenon, known as the “slow commodification of digital services,” is evident in the efforts of platforms like LinkedIn, which seeks to emulate the New York Times’ success in gaming. Ultimately, the pursuit of revenue growth drives platform companies to diversify their offerings, often at the expense of their original identity. As a result, users may find that their favorite apps increasingly resemble one another, as platforms prioritize broad appeal over distinctiveness.

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