In response to the probable ban of popular video-sharing social networking service TikTok by the U.S. President Donald Trump, Instagram launches Reels on Thursday.
With over 1billion users, Instagram stands out as one of the most popular social networking apps in the world today.
Instagram Reels similar to TikTok, is a video sharing feature that allows users to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools.
With over 500 million users around the world, Tiktok has grown to become a stiff competition for Instagram, particularly with the lockdown and quarantine.
The official launch of Instagram Reels in over 60 countries all over the world coincides with the plans of Donald Trump to either fully ban the Chinese-owned app or forcing it to sell off its U.S. operations.
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Reels is not Instagram’s first attempt at competing with Tiktok. In 2018, Facebook released a TikTok clone, Lasso which was eventually closed this year. While Lasso did not succeed as a standalone product, it represents Facebook’s ability to run essentially large-scale beta tests that don’t have to generate revenue. Through these tests, Facebook can then collect behavioural data and patterns which would then be used in building new products such as Instagram Reels.
With Lasso being fully shut down in July 2020, Facebook began making arrangements towards launching it’s new Instagram option Reels. In November 2019, Instagram had released a beta version of Reels in Brazil called Cenas. Cenas was a test to see the reaction of users to a different mobile video option.
Instagram currently caters to all generations, including the Generation Z, Millenials and even the Alpha Generation. However, creators have taken to uploading polished images and videos on their platforms, turning the other video option “IGTV” into a mini Youtube.
Instagram Reels features A.R. effects, a countdown timer, a new align tool to line up different takes and, music. The new Instagram music deals with record labels also ensure that the sound wouldn’t be taken off videos due to copyright infringement.
Reels is built into the Instagram app, with its own landing page that allows users swipe through videos similar to TikTok. It also will enable users to save unfinished Reels in their drafts, like with other Instagram posts.
While Instagram Reels is an attempt by Instagram to retain its users, it, however, does not come without its flaws. One of which is that like with Instagram Music, Instagram Reels does not let users save Reel videos with music. Considering that TikTok videos are often reposted and shared on other social media platforms, it means that Reel videos cannot be shared anywhere except Instagram which is one of the benefits TikTok gives its users.
With over 1 billion users, Instagram remains popular among users. To draw a conclusion on the success or failure of Instagram Reels; however, the U.S. has to finalise on a decision on TikTok.