What is TikTok Now? Post to View and new BeReal-like videos app feature explained - and how does it work?

Some have called TikTok’s emulation of BeReal ‘shameless’ as the video sharing app tries to ape its success

A new TikTok feature has divided users who are now being confronted with blurred videos and text overlays urging them to contribute to the social media app.

The new ‘Post to View’ function effectively blocks off some content from users until they upload either a 10-second video or photo of their own.

It is the most recent addition to TikTok’s ‘Now’ feature, which is described as a "daily photo and video experience to share your most authentic moments with the people who matter the most". It’s all in an effort to keep up with emerging new social media contenders like BeReal.

But what exactly is TikTok Now, how does it work, and what does the ‘Post to View’ feature mean for your TikTok experience? Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is TikTok Now?

Launched a couple of months ago in September 2022, TikTok Now enables you and your friends to capture what you’re doing in “real time”. You’ll get a daily reminder to record a 10-second video or take a static snapshot so you can easily share what you’re up to.

If that sounds similar to BeReal, that’s because it is. The relatively new photo-sharing app is designed to display a snapshot of what a user is doing at a specific point during the day, no matter how mundane it may seem.

TikTok influencers Florin Vitan (L) and Alessia Lanza perform a video for the social network (Photo: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Launched in 2019, BeReal asks users to shoot a simultaneous front and rear camera photograph once a day, at a random moment, within a two-minute window.

The goal is to present the user and their surroundings at that same moment, regardless of how unglamorous the location or how they themselves appear, and to be more authentic online as a result.

Many social media users appear to be tired of the more attention-grabbing, influencer-style content that has taken over platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Some claim that many of the largest platforms are no longer designed to connect people, but rather to promote those pushing a personal brand or looking to become an online influencer.

Many users have expressed dissatisfaction with the algorithmic design of those apps, which means that you are now more likely to encounter a random video from a content provider than the most recent post from a friend.

Apps like BeReal have attempted to capitalise on this frustration by arguing that they focus on authenticity rather than virality - the BeReal website states that the app’s goal is to help users “discover who your friends really are in their daily life”.

But with apps like BeReal stealing important screen time from TikTok, hurting the company’s position with advertisers, it’s looking to offer some semblance of that same authenticity, and the ‘TikTok Now’ feature apes BeReal’s central premise rather closely.

The feature is still in its early stages, and TikTok continues to experiment with it; it is available in the United States via the TikTok app, but may also be accessible in other regions as a new TikTok Now app.

What is ‘Post to View’?

On 14 November 2022 numerous TikTok users who had upgraded to the latest version of the app discovered that some videos and photographs shared by others had been obscured with the message "Post to view."

That meant that if a user wanted to see what someone else had uploaded, they had to contribute their own photo or short video to the platform first. With this new feature included in the most recent update, it’s no surprise that some users were perplexed.

TikTok users now receive daily ‘Time to Now’ notifications, prompting them to share a candid ten-second video or photo snapshot with their friends. When such a post is made within the three-minute time limit following the initial notification, it unlocks other posts for you to see.

It seems this feature is also emulating the workings of BeReal. Unlike other social media platforms, which constantly serve users content in an attempt to keep them online, BeReal only allows users to post once a day when the app invites them to, and they can only access content from their friends once they have posted themselves.