Instagram has revealed its own competitor to popular video content social network TikTok, launching new platform Reels in Australia today. The content creation format allows users to create short, edited videos that include music and special effects, appearing on Instagram’s in-app camera feature and sitting alongside other functions on the platform such as Stories, IGTV and Instagram Live.
In addition to Australia, the feature is debuting in the US, UK, Japan and other countries, as well as officially launching in countries like Brazil, France and Germany, which had previously served as test markets for the function.
The feature makes it a challenger to TikTok, the increasingly popular app which allows users to upload videos of up to a minute to the social network, including music and other effects. As of July 2020, the platform currently boasts around 800 million active users worldwide.
Of course, it’s not the first time Instagram has added a function aimed at challenging an existing platform. Back in 2016, the social network added the Stories function, allowing users to create short photo or video posts that were automatically deleted after 24 hours. The feature was similar in nature to the functionality of competitor Snapchat.
In response to reports that Instagram is paying popular TikTok users to join its Reels platform, the company issued a statement saying they “have a long history of reaching out to emerging creators and working to break new stars on Instagram.”
“As with previous products, we remain committed to investing in both our creators and their overall experience, and in certain cases, we may help cover production costs for their creative ideas.”
The news comes as TikTok and its parent company Byte Dance face scrutiny over their Chinese ownership and privacy concerns, with US President Donald threatening to ban the app’s usage in America unless it sells to a US company and sees the government receive a “substantial amount of money” as part of the deal. Microsoft are reportedly attempting to secure a deal to purchase the platform.