Reddit's past had little to do with video, but its future may depend on it. The social media platform best known as a place to discover text-based news, unusual insights, and niche sub-communities is buying Dubsmash, a TikTok-like social video platform, for an undisclosed sum. The information first reported the news late Sunday evening.
The announcement comes at the end of a year that saw numerous moves in the media and technology industries, including mergers, acquisitions, and initial public offerings. It also comes because the social media industry is thriving during quarantine and TikTok wraps up a blockbuster year that changed the industry forever. Facebook and Snapchat recently introduced copycat features that mimick TikTok's infinite scrolling and video editing capabilities. The information also reported that Facebook, Snap and Twitter have each been investigating the Dubsmash acquisition in recent months.
"Since video launched in 2017, we've seen significant growth in video on Reddit (over two-fold in 2020 alone), fueled by community creativity," a Reddit spokesperson said in a statement. They said Dubsmash will "keep its own brand and platform" but its video tools will also be built into Reddit's own website and app. Reddit has a live streaming feature called Reddit Public Access Networks that went online in 2019.
This year, Reddit added a trending takeover ad product, expanded brand security protection and targeting capabilities, and changed policy for political ads. But it also made a major change in the way content is moderated.
In June, after many years of the laissez-faire approach to removing racist and misogynist content, Reddit finally banned hate speech for the first time and launched r / The_Donald, a hate and conspiracy-ridden pro-Trump room, from its platform. In its announcement on Sunday, Reddit highlighted the diversity of the platform it is acquiring.
"Both Reddit and Dubsmash share a deeply rooted respect for how communities come together," said Steve Huffman, Reddit CEO, in a statement. “Dubsmash encourages underrepresented creators, while Reddit encourages a sense of community and belonging to thousands of different topics and passions. It is clear that our missions are closely coordinated and that our community-oriented platforms can coexist and grow as we learn from one another. "The company said roughly 25%" of all black teens in the US are on Dubsmash "and 70% of creators are female.
Reddit, which is still a privately-owned company, rarely discloses internal numbers, but said earlier this month that there were 52 million daily active users in October. It also announced that there will be a hiring frenzy to increase the workforce by 75% by the end of next year.