The surreal rise of TikTok has alerted Facebook, who are notoriously known for their willingness to drive out competition. In their latest attempt to dethrone a key competitor, Instagram has introduced a brand new feature dubbed ‘Reels’ replicating TikTok’s key functionality.
According to reports, back in 2016, Facebook were desperate to acquire Musical.ly, the app that eventually was acquired by a Chinese company and merged in to what is TikTok today. However, the deal fell through and the rest is history. Despite Facebook’s best efforts which also included the introduction of a stand-alone app, Lasso, TikTok has continuously overpowered competition to get to where it is today.
The fact that Reels will be available within the Stories camera indicates a shift in strategy as Instagram are attempting to leverage the power and popularity of Stories to get the best out of Reels. As these screenshots show, Reels will enable users to create short videos which can be shared and remixed – just like TikTok. There’s also a potential for Reels to go viral and make it to a new ‘Top Reels’ section in the Explore option, adding to the discoverability of that tool as well.
These features suggest that it’s quite a blatant rip-off of TikTok, except for the use of Instagram’s already extremely popular features in an attempt to catapult Reels to dethrone TikTok. Regardless, Instagram’s answer to TikTok, which has been tested for months and now published live in Brazil shows just how seriously Facebook is taking the Chinese-owned platform and their aim to negate them.
Will it work? That’s a fascinating battle and only time will tell.