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Instagram's TikTok competitor will launch in the US in early August
- Instagram Reels will be available in the US in early August.
- It may reach over 50 new countries in total, including the UK.
- It comes just as talk has circulated of a possible TikTok ban.
Instagram’s response to TikTok, Reels, is finally coming to the US after months of early access in countries like Brazil, France, Germany, and India.
A Facebook spokesperson speaking to TechCrunch has confirmed an earlier NBC News scoop about Reels’ imminent launch, revealing that the music-focused video feature will reach American users sometime in early August. It’s coming to other countries as well, although the spokesperson didn’t name them. NBC claimed “more than 50” countries would get Reels, including the UK, Japan, and Mexico.
We’ve asked the company if the update will be available on Android, iOS, or both.
Reels is conspicuously similar to TikTok with an emphasis on short, soundtracked videos, but there are fundamental differences between the two. In its current incarnation, Reels is limited to 15-second clips (versus a minute for TikTok) and is available in both Explore and user profiles. TikTok revolves around dedicated feeds hat can include a mix of friends’ videos and suggestions.
Whether or not Instagram gets its big chance to convert TikTok users isn’t certain.
Whether or not Reels gets its big chance to convert TikTok users isn't certain.
The timing would be appropriate for Instagram. The US government is strongly considering a ban on TikTok due to concerns about private data possibly falling into the hands of the Chinese government. While that ban is far from certain, it would force over 30 million American TikTok users to move to other social networks — Instagram Reels might be the closest substitute.
Whether or not Instagram gets its big chance to convert TikTok users isn’t certain. TikTok has denied ever sending US data to the Chinese government, and might not be banned as a result. And as TechCrunch notes, there’s a possibility people leaving TikTok will head to a variety of services, such as Byte, Snapchat, and YouTube. While Instagram’s size makes it a likely destination, Reels might not be enough to bring everyone into the fold.