Ban or no ban, the TikTokcracy is over. We started 2020 a world made up of TikTok users and non-users, and we’ve since settled into indefinite quarantine as a country once again obsessed with short-form video. Finally, there was a new social media platform. This time Gen Z dictated the terms and was the main creative engine behind all the trends, a space all their own. But the era of TikTok dominance is coming to an end, or at least, it’s reaching a turning point. Triller toppled it on the App Store’s list and more tech giants are coming up with their own competitors. Today, Instagram launches Reels, a short-form video format — its own version of TikTok, if you will.
A Facebook spokesperson told Refinery29, “Our community is telling us they want to make and watch short-form, edited videos — and now, we’re excited to launch Reels: a new way for anyone to create and discover short, entertaining videos.” Reels had already been tested in Brazil, Germany, and France. Facebook announced its August debut shortly after India issued its TikTok ban in early July. Reels is launching in more than 50 countries across the world.
You’ll find Reels on your Explore page, where you’ll be able to click through a vertical scroll feed, similar to TikTok’s or the one Snapchat is testing out. If you want to make a Reel, you’ll find the format when you click into your Instagram camera (top left of the Home page), next to features like Create Mode or Boomerang.
Unlike TikTok, which has a maximum video length of 60 seconds, a Reel can only be a maximum of 15 seconds long. Users will be able to borrow each other’s audio tracks and edit their videos much like they would on Tiktok. Reels lets you use Instagram’s beloved-AR special effects and you’ll have access to Facebook’s entire music library. Reels can be created in-app and shared to Stories, your feed, or sent to private DMs.
If you are one of the millions of people with Instagram, you don’t have anything to lose in giving Reels a try. Despite the easy TikTok comparisons, it will become clear to any user that Reels is a uniquely Instagram experience.
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