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Netflix just added a cool feature to its iOS app that feels like TikTok

Published Mar 3rd, 2021 5:18PM EST
Netflix Fast Laughs
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Around mid-morning on Wednesday, I downloaded the latest version of the Netflix app to my iPhone. A new addition to the row of icons at the bottom of the main screen, nestled between “Coming Soon” and the search button, caught my eye: Netflix’s new “Fast Laughs” tab, which has been described by some press outlets already as a bit reminiscent of TikTok’s For You page, something that admittedly made me wince a little.

After playing around with the new feature, though, I’ve decided I like the new “Fast Laughs” tab enough that I could actually see it tempting me to use the app even more than I already do. You can see a video showcasing what it is and how it works below, but basically, this tab will play little bursts of funny clips from Netflix’s immense library of movies, TV shows, and standup comedy specials. The first time I opened the tab, I saw Alexis Rose of Schitt’s Creek needling her brother David for the umpteenth time; a segment from Kevin Hart’s standup routine; a funny scene from Friends From College; and a scene from Chelsea Peretti’s standup.

It’s perfect for when I’m in the mood to not necessarily watch a full show or movie on Netflix, but content to mindlessly scroll around my phone, which is a lot more often than I like to admit.

According to a Netflix company blog post from the streamer’s director of product innovation Patrick Flemming, once you click on the tab, the videos will start playing in a completely full-screen, vertical view, and once one clip is done then the next will appear from the bottom and start playing without interruption. “And what if you see a scene from a classic that is long overdue for a rewatch? Or catch something new that deserves a closer look? Fast Laughs lets you add series, films and stand-up specials to your list, or start viewing them immediately. You can also share the clips individually on Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter — so your friends can get in on the fun, too.”

A couple of important caveats that should be noted at this point: Not all of the clips, it should go without saying, will be work-appropriate or suitable for all ages, so keep that in mind if you’ve got other people around you. Also, this feature isn’t available for everyone yet. Only iPhone users in select countries have access to this now, but Netflix says it will be testing the feature for Android devices soon.

If you’d already started playing with this feature before, by the way, or had it in your Netflix app before now, Netflix actually confirmed a few months ago that it was testing the “Fast Laughs” tab within the iOS app on a subset of its user base, ahead of the wider rollout that’s happening now.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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