Instagram yesterday announced the launch of Reels, its short-form video feature. It operates similarly to embattled rival TikTok where users can record, edit, share and discover videos of up to 15 seconds with the option of background audio and music from licensed music distributors.
The new product is said to be available in over 50 markets globally including India, Japan, Australia and the US. Campaign has reached out to Instagram for a full list of markets. Last month, the app was introduced as a test in India, coinciding with the nationwide ban of TikTok. Facebook India chief Ajit Mohan said the launch of Reels in the market had nothing to do with the ban of its rival.
Last week, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer slammed Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg for the launch of Reels. In a blog post, he said:
At TikTok we welcome competition. We think fair competition makes all of us better. To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on. Facebook is even launching another copycat product, Reels (tied to Instagram), after their other copycat Lasso failed quickly. But let's focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor—namely Facebook—disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US.
According to Instagram’s VP of product, Vishal Shah, "inspiration for products comes from everywhere”. He added that Reels is not yet planning to offer advertising or other ways for users to make money through the platform.
Last month, Facebook shut down Lasso, what many called a “TikTok clone”. Lasso allowed users to shoot up to 15-second videos and overlay popular songs. The feature was primarily available in the US and several South American markets; it never expanded to markets beyond that.