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On Wednesday, Facebook’s new product Reels appeared to Instagram’s U.S. users. Instagram gave celebs like Will Smith and Selena Gomez early entry into Reels so they would have videos ready to go at launch.
Reels is basically a TikTok knock-off, following in the footsteps of other popular product features that Facebook has borrowed from rivals. Facebook famously took Stories and augmented reality filters from Snapchat. Now, as TikTok, the Chinese-owned social video app, has seen wild success among U.S. teens, Facebook is hoping to capture some of that action.
Instagram users can create fast-paced videos in 15-second clips that have much the same energy as a TikTok production. It was a good time for Facebook to launch the rival feature. TikTok is being hounded by President Donald Trump, who wants to shut it down on national security grounds. Here’s how media covered Reels:
•Facebook was characterized as taking “inspiration from competitors,” in The Wall Street Journal.
•Newsweek was bullish about it, claiming Reels could “kill TikTok before the government does.”
•Refinery 29 saw the similarities, but still called Reels, “a uniquely Instagram experience.”
•This was not the first time Facebook has tried to copy TikTok, though. Remember, Lasso, CNBC does.