Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Instagram newest update.
Facebook owned Instagram released its newest update of it’s app and it comes with a new service Reels, in the United States and dozens of other countries Wednesday, adding a tab to the existing app that will let users make and watch short form videos just like TikTok.
Reels U.S. launched in time just a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by Congress about his company’s allegedly anticompetitive practices, including whether it copies ideas from smaller competitors. Meanwhile, TikTok is facing political fallout, as the Trump administration has put pressure on its parent company, ByteDance, to divest its U.S. assets or face a ban because of national security concerns.
Like the app TikTok, Reels lets users shoot and edit videos, add music and scroll through a feed of others’ clips. The biggest difference seems to be length of video TikTok allows videos up to 60 seconds, and Instagram caps them at 15 seconds.
Instagram and its owner Facebook, have a long history of successfully remaking products introduced by others, tweaking them and releasing them to great popularity. Facebook’s On This Day feature is reminiscent of one first launched by TimeHop. The company’s Messenger Rooms video chat feels like a cross of Zoom and HouseParty. Mostly, Instagram Stories debuted in 2016 as a virtual mirror of rival Snapchat’s stories feature.
Facebook has faced major criticism for years over copying others, something that was bought up again last week when Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA.) grilled Zuckerberg during the antitrust hearing. Jayapal pulled up receipts of old email exchanges in which the CEO told an Instagram founder he was building a copycat camera service as he tried to buy Instagram. She asked whether Facebook copies from its competitors. Zuckerberg didn’t directly answer her question.
Reels will feel different from TikTok, Instagram’s Shah said, and will be tied to the Instagram system as a whole, a valuable proposition for creators who already have big followings on the app.
TikTok has already called out Facebook for building Reels, which went live in Brazil late last year. TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer wrote in a blog post that the company welcomes competition from Facebook, even as he threw slight shade at the company.
“To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on,” he wrote.
TikTok has been the target of attacks from U.S president Donald Trump and some of his supporters over concerns that the company is feeding U.S. user data through its Chinese parent company to China’s government. TikTok has continually insisted it is not handing over data to the Chinese government and it stores American customers data in the United States.