If you’re sick of bumping up against TikTok’s 60-second time limit, we have some news you’ll love. The app recently announced it would be extending the video length limit to three minutes to make room for “richer storytelling and entertainment.” Users around the world have slowly gotten access to this feature over the last few weeks, and by the end of July, everyone should be able to upload, edit, and post three-minute videos. If you don’t see the three-minute option on your TikTok account just yet, try updating the app, or just wait another week or two until it’s available to everyone.
“We often hear from creators that they’d love just a little more time to bring their cooking demos, elaborate beauty tutorials, educational lesson plans, and comedic sketches to life with TikTok’s creative tools,” the company explained in a blog post. “With all the ways our community has redefined expression in under 60 seconds, we’re excited to see how people continue to entertain and inspire with a few more seconds — and a world of creative possibilities.”
TikTok famously began with ultra-short 15-second time limits for its clips, which it then extended by allowing users to string together up to four video segments for a 60-second total. Those limitations might have been annoying for people who struggled to fit anything meaningful into a 15-second time period, but it also challenged people to get creative with how they filled that time. Back then, the clips were little more than flashes of content designed to intrigue or make you laugh. Users who skyrocketed to popularity in those days mastered the art of getting to the point as quickly as possible.
Now, with a three-minute limit, users will be able to do a lot more with TikTok. Tutorials, guides, promotional videos, short films, and whatever else users dream up will be far more convenient to create and consume, potentially making TikTok feel similar to competitors Instagram and YouTube, for better or worse. Part of what makes the app so addicting for many users is how quickly the content streams by as you watch, holding your interest no matter how short your attention span may be. But longer content could change that dynamic, making us all more likely to skip clips that drag on a little too long.
The outrageously popular Chinese social media company will also begin using automated reviewing systems to hunt down videos with graphic content, sex, violence, nudity, and illegal activities, as well as content that violates its minor safety policy. The system will remove any videos suspected to contain such content and the creators will be given opportunities to appeal to human moderators if they believe the removal was an error. TikTok previously used all human moderators in the U.S., many of whom reported developing PTSD-like symptoms from the “volume of distressing videos” they were forced to watch.
Of course, computers still make mistakes, so TikTok users will likely see a period of heavy-handed automated takedowns before the system gets a little better at deciding what to remove. There’s also the fact that TikTok has a history of discriminatory moderation, intentionally deleting or shadow banning videos with LGBT-related hashtags and suppressing content by disabled, queer, and overweight creators, and it remains to be seen whether these problems continue or worsen using AI.