Yesterday, August 5, Instagram added a new short-form video feature to the photo-sharing platform as a direct challenge to TikTok. According to the Facebook-owned company, the new feature “Reels” lets users record videos of up to 15 seconds and provides tools for editing, audio and effects.
“Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram,” the social media platform, based in California, said in a blog post.
Prior to this, US President Trump has threatened to ban China-based TikTok in the United States on national security grounds, giving it until the middle of September to work out a takeover deal with Microsoft or another suitor.
Instagram vs TikTok
With the birth of Reels, this serves as a direct competition between Instagram and TikTok. “Reels is a big part of the future of entertainment on Instagram,” the service said. “Our community is telling us they want to make and watch short-form, edited videos.”
The feature is launching in more than 50 countries including Australia, Brazil, Britain, France, Germany, India, Japan, and the United States.
“Reels gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they love on Instagram, and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take center stage,” the platform said.
Of course, the move fits Facebook’s pattern of copying features that are hits at rival online services.
“Simply put, they have too much power”
How the social networking titan wields its power in the market came under scrutiny last week when Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and the heads of Apple, Google, and Amazon were grilled by a US congressional antitrust committee.
“Simply put, they have too much power,” said Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat who chairs the panel which has been conducting a year-long investigation into the business practices of the four companies.
“This power staves off new forms of competition, creativity, and innovation,” Cicilline said.
Moreover, any deal allowing Microsoft to buy TikTok could be transformative for the US tech giant’s efforts to become more consumer-focused. However, this only happens if it can overcome the business and political risks.
In fact, analysts believe that buying TikTok could make Microsoft a hipper, more youth-centric company after years of shifting to enterprise services and cloud computing. — Agence France-Presse