When we talk about social media, TikTok comes to mind as the app that has taken the internet by storm. The platform has grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years and has proven difficult to defeat by other platforms, especially in 2020, when the entire world was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many countries imposed quarantines. This has forced users to become more creative and create content that quickly went, in lack of a better term, viral.
We don’t say it, but the stats do because the figures show that 2.3 billion people installed the app, with 100 million solely from the U.S., thus enabling TikTok to become the main competitor of Instagram, which only has one billion downloads.
As we know, TikTok, a Chinese social media app, focuses on making short and funny videos with a musical background, which changed the face of social media. However, Instagram anticipated this development and came up with an alternative for fans who no longer want to share their time on two different social networks, an almost perfect clone of the TikTok platform to which they will lose access in the near future.
TikTok is already banned in India, while talks are taking place in the U.S. to impose similar measures against the app. Microsoft stated that it is planning to acquire the U.S. market shares of TikTok from ByteDance, the Chinese company. Sources said that ByteDance has agreed to divest parts of TikTok under pressure from the White House, which has threatened to ban it and other Chinese-owned applications for data security reasons.
Taking this new development into account, Instagram worked hard on this new platform, which was first tested in the fall of 2019 in Brazil, France, and Germany and released in India in July 2020. Facebook has released the TikTok clone, Instagram Reels, in 50 countries, such as the US, UK, Japan, Australia, with the app being available on both Android and iOS devices.
For those who want to create such videos can do so directly from the integrated camera of Instagram. A special tab, called Reels, has been introduced, which comes with a small menu located on the left side of the screen, where users can select a song, different effects, or the speed they want to give to the video.
The app will also have a “For You” page located on the Explore page. It is a special section dedicated to Reels, where you will find new content depending on what you are following, another function which is similar to the one on TikTok.
Those who have tested it have expressed the desire for not to disappear just as the stories do after 24 hours, so a special tab was created on the personal page of the users.
Since it’s not a perfect clone, there will be some differences. There are a few other features that Reels won’t have at launch. Users will not be able to “duet” with each other, a function of TikTok that allows users to interact and create bonding moments with other members of the community and they won’t even be able to record sounds directly in the app, they need to add original audio by themselves.
It’s not the first time we see an attempt being made to copy an app; such was the case with Instagram Stories, which was born a clone of, but became bigger than Snapchat itself, attracting more users.
According to The Verge, Robert Stain, Instagram director, states that “at the end of the day no two products are exactly alike, and ours are not either.”
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