Is Instagram “Reels” a Ray of Hope for Thousands of Stranded TikTokers?


Is Instagram “Reels” a Ray of Hope for Thousands of Stranded TikTokers?

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

It’s barely been a week since TikTok was officially banned in India, but already other social media apps have been rushing to take its place. In the last few days, Instagram showed its intention to fill the gap TikTok left behind with a new feature called “Reels”, which allows users to upload 15-second clips with music, filters, and an editor tool similar to the one the Chinese app used.

With over 100 million TikTok users suddenly left in the lurch after the sudden ban, the new feature could not have been released at a more opportune time. The similarities between the two are quite evident, as many were quick to point out on Twitter.

“Reels” has only launched in India, Germany, France and Brazil so far. But it has already caught the attention of thousands of Indians who welcomed the new feature with both excitement and a slew of memes.

Instagram has also already begun collaborating with TikTok  influencers to get them to use the new feature, some reports pointed out.

The similarities between TikTok and “Reels” don’t end with the duration of the videos, however, as Facebook confirmed that content creators will now also be able to make changes to video speed, and add music, depending on the library of tracks in the region.

Once the Reel is recorded, users can also select the target audience they want to share it with. Unlike Instagram stories, “Reels” can also be shared in the Explore tab, allowing them to be seen by anyone on the platform.

“‘Reels’ gives a voice to individual creators”, Vishal Shah, the Vice-President of Product, Facebook, was quoted as saying.

TikTok’s ban had left thousands of content creators, who had amassed millions of followers, stranded overnight, so it’ll be interesting to see if the new Instagram feature takes off at the same pace as the Chinese app had a few years ago.

With a number of celebrities already rushing to create their own “Reels”, chances are it may well replace the app sooner than we think.