TikTok May Have A New Competitor, And Its Name Is Reels

Courtesy: Instagram

On July 31st, Donald Trump announced that he was planning on signing an executive order to ban TikTok by Saturday, August 1st. Fortunately for TikTok users, TikTok was still up and running by Saturday evening. 

TikTok’s U.S General Manager, Vanessa Pappas, uploaded a video to TikTok on August 1st. In the video, she started off by promising that TikTok is not going anywhere, and that it will continue to thrive as a platform for creatives of all backgrounds. 


A message to the TikTok community.

♬ original sound – tiktok

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company, ByteDance. However, according to an article by the New York Times, ByteDance has offered to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations. Although various companies are interested in purchasing the U.S. operations, Microsoft is reported to be the leading candidate. 

A reliable source informed the New York Times that, “Microsoft and other companies have been in talks to buy TikTok, but a deal has not yet been reached”.

Although TikTok is here to stay until further notice, they have some new competition. On August 5th, Instagram announced the launch of its newest feature, Reels. Similarly to TikTok, Reels consists of 15-second long creative clips. Anyone can record, edit and upload a clip. People are also able to use hashtags, visual/speed effects, and select an audio from the list.

The main differences between TikTok and Instagram are the duration (TikTok allows for one minute clips, while Reels limits the videos to 15-seconds), character count (Reels is unlimited, while TikTok has a limit of 150 characters), and the search feature. On TikTok, users can search for videos from their favorite influencer/creator. However, on Reels, it appears as though users have to exit the feature and manually search their favorite content creator. If they’ve posted a Reel, then it will show up as a video icon on their Instagram profiles. 

People are having mixed reactions to the new feature. Some are annoyed, claiming that they “copied” TikTok.

Meanwhile, others are upset at the lack of creative expansion for up and coming creators. While TikTok’s algorithm allows for anyone to be featured on their “For You Page”, the Reels algorithm is set up differently. Their version of the “For You Page” would be landing on the Explore page — which is known for consisting of celebrities and populars creators/pages.

However, some are willing to give Reels a chance, in case TikTok eventually gets banned in the U.S.

The most hilarious reaction to Reels comes from TikTok itself. The official Twitter account was honest about its response towards the new Instagram Reels:

This isn’t the first time that Instagram has added a new feature to their visual platform. In August of 2016, Instagram launched their “story” feature. This allowed users to post photos/videos of their day, without flooding their main feed. These stories were set to disappear after 24 hours. The story feature was created, as a way to compete with Snapchat. People were originally fascinated with Snapchat, due to its privacy, shortened footage, and unique filters. 

Hopefully Reels will continue to add new features as time goes by. We wish the best of luck to Instagram on their new venture!

Published by Monica Ring

Screenwriter/Journalist with a passion for storytelling

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