When it comes to creators on TikTok and many other platforms, the functionality of having a link in a profile bio is crucial to audience management. For people with websites or other content they want people to see it can be the difference between building sustainable infrastructure and being stuck in TikTok’s capacities.
This is especially true for creators who have multiple links they want to share, a very common occurrence. This is why apps like linktree have been developed, apps that compile all of a creator’s links into one splash page.
Linktree itself is probably one of the most successful. At the end of March it was reported that Linktree, one of the most popular “link in bio” services with more than 12 million users, announced it has raised $45 million in Series B funding.
Many are beginning to wonder if TikTok and other social media platforms might be suppressing linktree for a variety of reasons.
The most often guessed reason for this suppression is simple: many wonder if TikTok works to keep users on its app by preventing too much navigation away from TikTok. Too many links in someone’s bio may promote this.
TikTok hasn’t done much to assuage this concern, in fact, any instance of linktree usage on the app is met with a popup calling the link a security alert. Basically, if you click a linktree link from TikTok, you get a screen telling you that you might not be safe.
“I use the website linktree in order tp add all of my product links from amazon
And other sites, anything that I reference in my videos or on my instagram,” one tiktok user @its2021land said. “Linktree is just really user friendly and there are a ton of content creators on TikTok who use this. The reason you get this message is that TikTok can see that your linktree is innocuous, but what they can’t see is into the actual sites that your linking through that list of links on your linktree.”
It’s not just on TikTok that this happens. This reddit post talks about a similar issue with sharing a linktree link in an instagram bio.
“Instagram cracking down on linktree links in profiles,” the post said. “This happened to several people overnight.:”
In those cases, linktree was completely disallowed from usage on Instagram for a period of time.
Web products like linktree allow for creatives to have a little bit more flexibility with their presence on social media, and many may feel this is enough evidence of the suppression of this flexibility. Linktree will certainly continue its success regardless, but it would seem that suppression on major platforms like TIkTok and Instagram would certainly hurt the site’s usability.
As for Linktree itself, it even has a dedicated website on usage for TikTokers looking to incorporate linktree into their bio. It doesn’t mention at all the popup calling their links a security alert on the app.
Daniel Johanson (he/him) is a journalist and digital media specialist living in Chicago, Illinois. He serves as Editor-in-Chief at Scapi and in that capacity manages all things content, including writing and editing articles and producing digital content. His most recent work includes the docuseries Heart of a Nation: Tracking Socialism in the Midwest and co-hosting the podcast Scapi Radio. He spends his free time with cats.