Zigazoo, the startup known for its TikTok-style video-sharing app for kids, is launching a separate app targeted at Gen Z users.
The new app will take the flagship name and is meant for ages 13 and older, whereas the original kid-focused app is for Generation Alpha (3-12) and has been rebranded to “Zigazoo Kids.” Previous users in the younger age range will be automatically migrated to Zigazoo Kids.
Zigazoo is invite-only and launches on Saturday, March 25.
Like Zigazoo Kids, the new Gen Z-focused app is a video thread-style platform that doesn’t allow users to type comments on posts. Instead, users can only respond to each other via short-form videos, which the company believes reduces negative comments and trolling. Users can also answer video-driven prompts like, “What are your favorite sports?” or “What’s on your mind?”
In addition to prohibiting negativity on the platform, the app includes other safety measures, such as optional private accounts, human-in-the-loop moderation and an algorithm that promotes positivity, the company said.
However, unlike Zigazoo Kids, the Gen Z product doesn’t require parental consent and will have a direct messaging feature, which utilizes auto-moderation software. Meanwhile, TikTok has disabled direct messaging for users under 16 years old. From what we understand, however, TikTok only moderates messages that have been reported by users.
Other new features available on the Gen Z app include searchable music and trending sounds, as well as allowing all users to make a “Vibe,” which is a video that users can respond to. On Zigazoo Kids, only verified creators and brands can make a Vibe video.
To start, there will be a select group of creators on Zigazoo, including the cast of the Netflix reboot “That ‘90s Show,” an array of popular TikTokers like Hype House member Jack Wright, Alana Clements, and Nick Bencinvengo, as well as various Gen Z actors like “Girl Meets World” actress Ava Kolker and “Walker” star Kale Culley.
The content ranges from dance and music to fashion, gaming, memes and more.
Additionally, Zigazoo will launch entertainment channels where creators will lead the content. For instance, TikTok creator Hannah Kosh, known for her pop culture and celebrity gossip videos, will have a channel dedicated to entertainment news. Wright will also get a channel, as will Callie Haverda, who plays Leia Forman on “That ‘90s Show.”
“I was drawn to Zigazoo because they are creating a positive community,” Haverda said in a statement. “I love the idea of being able to add organic content to a platform whose ultimate focus is to create a safe space for my generation. A big goal for me is to have fun and make entertaining art without the fear of negative comments or trolling, and Zigazoo provides just that! I’m so excited to be part of the initial launch, and can’t wait for you to see all the fun we have!”
Zigazoo claims to provide a “nontoxic” environment for Gen Z consumers as many users become put off by other social media platforms where toxicity thrives, infested with unrealistic beauty standards, cyberbullying and content that may not be age-appropriate.
According to a study by the consumer and business insights research group ORIGIN, 48% of Gen Z participants said social media makes them feel anxious, sad or depressed. Sixty-one percent of respondents admitted to doing a social media detox.
So, launching a Gen Z-focused app in the current climate, especially given yesterday’s TikTok Congressional hearing, is certainly notable. While TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew tried to reassure representatives about the app’s impact on minors, referring to several features like the ineffective screen time controls, Chew was also clear on his stance that parents are mostly responsible for how their children use the app.
Speaking with TechCrunch, Zigazoo co-founder Zak Ringelstein said, “We consider this moment a major social media reset, where obviously TikTok might get banned, but also Snapchat and Meta are suffering major losses. I think there’s a lot coming into view for everyone where maybe there should be a more critical eye [around social media], and there should be a place where people can go and feel good about themselves… We want to see a better social media, less toxic social media, and I think the time is really ripe for this moment. So we’re really excited about our launch.”
Ringelstein added that another reason why Zigazoo saw an opening for the Gen Z app was that there are a ton of 12- to 14-year-olds (and older) already on Zigazoo Kids, making up about 31% of its users.
“We decided to launch this new platform after seeing that so many Gen Z-ers, looking for a more positive and authentic social media environment, had already been organically migrating to Zigazoo. We wanted to create a social media oasis that was specially tailored for this audience,” he said.
Zigazoo launched in 2020 as a “healthier” social media platform that lets kids browse or create 30-second videos based on challenges or educational prompts like, “Can you find something that’s symmetrical?” or “Can you teach us how to play your favorite sport or physical activity?”
An adult must sign up for their child on Zigazoo Kids using either a Facebook, Google or Apple account. Parents decide if they want their kid’s videos to be published publicly or set to private. It’s also worth noting that Zigazoo Kids is kidSAFE COPPA certified.
The company has raised a total of $20 million from big investors like Jimmy Kimmel, Serena Williams, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, the NBA, as well as pocket.watch founder Chris M. Williams, MasterClass head of talent Matthew Rutler, and more. It’s also endorsed by celebrities like Christina Aguilera, LeBron James, Matt Damon and Dolly Parton.
The app currently has over 3 million installs and more than 250 verified creators and brands, including Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., Paramount, Amazon, Apple TV+, Netflix, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and Mattel.