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Video-sharing platform TikTok in all likelihood will launch a group messaging feature this year, which will bring the Chinese-owned app face-to-face against its rivals like Facebook Inc.

Group chatting would help TikTok hold users on the app longer and enable influencers to more easily connect with fans.

It is ByteDance Inc.’s plan to develop TikTok into a social interactions app, according to a report.

The feature has been part of the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, since 2019.

ByteDance had discussed last year about introducing this feature, but it was kept on hold after the app came under fire from the Trump administration and was banned in India.

Now, it is reevaluating the launch group chats on TikTok

US President Joe Biden’s administration has held back a government lawsuit that would have banned the app’s use in America.

It also informed that it has not taken any interest in implementing the plans of the Trump administration to give nod to American investors to acquire TikTok for US operations.

The Trump administration had raised alarms over TikTok posing national security concerns as the personal data of US users could be obtained by China’s government.

Hany Farid, a digital forensics expert who is on Tiktok’s U.S. advisory council, said he had not been notified about group chats being launched in the United States, but added the platform would need to be ready to deal with dangers that would come with expanding into social messaging.

“If you are a site that is the size of a TikTok or a Facebook, even if it’s not encrypted, you still have to worry about how am I going to moderate this material and deal with the harms.”

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