Instagram launches TikTok competitor

With TikTok’s future currently uncertain, Instagram has today launched Reels, a competitor to the popular video platform.

Labelled as a ‘new Instagram format,’ Reels appears as another content creation tool within the Instagram app, joining the platform’s other resources – Stories, IGTV, Live, photography and video. It provides users with the ability to create short-form, 15 second videos that are set to music, with the options of editing, adding audio and adding filters. Just like TikTok, these videos can be shared with friends and followers and can be discovered while browsing the app.

For those wanting to use Reels as a new method to build a following, Instagram has also rebuilt its Explore page with a specific landing spot for Reels at the top of the screen, allowing people to scroll through – just like on TikTok’s ‘For You Page.’

If users are concerned about security, private profile options are available, in addition to public ones for those looking to be easily discovered. Reels that are created using private accounts will only post to that person’s Feed and Stories.

And while Tiktok CEO, Kevin Mayer, recently lashed out at Facebook (Instagram's owner), saying Reels was a ‘copycat product’ and a “maligning [attack] by our competitor… disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director, Will Easton, said Reels’ creation is in response to growing Instagram user demand for short-form video content.

“Instagram is where millions of Australians come everyday to express themselves and be entertained,” he said. "Our community is telling us they want to make and watch short-form, edited videos, which is exactly how we’ve developed the Reels experience. Whether you are a creator with a passion to share or a business with a story to tell, our new Reels format empowers your creativity and helps you reach new audiences on a global stage.”

The launch of Instagram Reels comes on the heels of growing global concern that TikTok and its Chinese parent company, Byte Dance, are feeding data to the Chinese government. TikTok however has denied the claims and has attempted to distance itself from Byte Dance’s roots.

TikTok was banned in India at the end of June, and now it faces a potential ban in the United States, thanks to President Donald Trump. Globally, the video platform is in talks to sell its US, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand operations to Microsoft.