The Brief: The new short-form video-sharing app Byte has dropped, drawing comparisons between its predecessor Vine and competitor TikTok.


What Is Byte?

The Byte app is a short-form video sharing app created by Vine co-founder Dom Hoffman. Users can upload six-second videos and interact with each other via likes, comments, and rebytes (reposts). After months in Beta, Byte dropped on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store in January 2020.

Byte App Guide

Is Byte The New Vine?

In the first week since its release, Byte has developed a culture and video style similar to Vine’s. This is evident in both the app’s interface and the content users are uploading. Six-second Bytes thus far showcase everything from art videos to stop-motion Barbie skits to many Vine-esque comedy skits performed by a single person.

If Byte continues in Vine’s footsteps, it may run into similar issues as its predecessor. After it was purchased by Twitter, Vine eventually shut-down after the app failed to find a way to monetize content. Byte’s forthcoming partnership program, a system to compensate creators, indicates an effort to monetize content for both creators and the app itself. Like Vine, this new app may also have to navigate changing social media landscapes and competition with social media apps like TikTok.

Byte vs. TikTok

As TikTok currently dominates the short-form video sharing market, Byte may be hard-pressed to find a competitive audience. However, there are notable differences between the two apps in both their design and culture. While TikTok is best-known for its hashtag challenges, viral dance moves, and lip-syncing videos, much of Byte’s content thus far heavily relies on standalone comedic skits without music. TikTok has video effects, features like dueting, and an algorithm that caters content hyper-curated based on individual users’ interests and viewing patterns. As TikTok has run into issues with censorship and privacy, Byte may face similar ones or distinguish itself by avoiding such controversies.

In the first few days since its launch, numerous Byte videos that drag TikTok have gained popularity, representing a potential rift between the app’s users and TikTokers. On the flip side, TikTokers such as Zach King (also a former Viner) and members of Hype House have already started creating popular content on Byte.

Safety & Privacy

On the App Store, Byte is recommended for users ages 12 and up due to content’s potential to be inappropriate for younger audiences. Byte is free to download. The app collects, uses, and shares some user data as outlined in their privacy policy.  Byte’s terms of service and community guidelines are listed on their website.