What is Reels, Instagram’s competitor to TikTok?

  • Facebook, which owns the photo-sharing social media platform, is releasing its own short-form video platform in around 50 countries in August
  • Reels will live inside the app’s Stories feature
Business Insider |

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This gives us some idea of what Reels content will look like. Image: Instagram viaTechCrunch Twitter

Instagram is set to release its own competitor to TikTok in 50 countries around the world next month. The announcement comes TikTok has been shut down in Hong Kong, downloads of the app banned in India, and as the US government considering banning the app in that country over concerns data is shared with the Chinese government.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, first started testing Reels with users in Brazil in November, before rolling out last month to France and Germany. It has been available in India since early this month.

The early August roll-out will include Britain and around 50 other countries, according to US news organisation NBC News.

Here’s some of what we know so far.

Reels, which will live inside of the app’s Stories feature, allows users to record and edit short-form videos with audio and music soundtracks – similar to what users already do on TikTok. It appears that the videos will be limited to 15 seconds, compared to the 60 seconds possible on TikTok.

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When scrolling through your home feed or Explore page, you’ll be able to tell which posts are Reels clips by a clapperboard icon in the bottom-left corner.

On the surface, it seems viewing Reels will be a similar experience as viewing TikTok videos: you can like or comment on videos, and click through to see what audio track was used in a specific video. It’s not clear if you’re able to scroll vertically through videos – akin to TikTok’s addictive “For You” feed” – or if you have to navigate back to the Explore page to find more Reels.

A new tab will be added to users’ profiles to showcase all their Reels in one place. The tab will live alongside the traditional grid of recent posts, as well as tabs for viewing IGTV videos or videos a user was tagged in.

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