Facebook confirmed the launch of its TikTok clone in the United States and in more than 50 nations worldwide "within weeks."
The new feature, called Instagram Reels, is set to roll out in the United States in "early August," according to a Facebook spokesperson. Similarly to TikTok, Reels allows users to record and edit 15-second video clips set to music. Alternatively, they can also reuse audio from fellow users.
Users will access Reels via a new icon at the bottom of their Instagram app and post Reels to their feed or Instagram Explore for public accounts, the company said.
Instagram is not going all-in on Reels, sources familiar witht the matter said. The feature will live inside of Instagram Stories and be one of the many options when posting content. Furthermore, videos will not stick around as they do on TikTok unless the creators add them to their profile.
Facebook already launched Reels in Brazil a year ago. Last month, it expanded to France and Germany. The new feature is also available in India, just days after the country banned TikTok and other Chinese apps citing privacy concerns.
Facebook has a proven track record of providing alternative versions of popular apps. For instance, in 2016, the social media giant launched Instagram Stories to compete with Snapchat. By 2018, Stories became more than twice as popular as Snapchat.
Marc Zuckerberg is not the only tech entrepreneur working on a TikTok clone. YouTube is also developing its TikTok replica, called Shorts. It is set to be released by the yearend. Snapchat will also join the battle with an in-house short-form video feature.
Commenting on the upcoming competition, TikTok said it welcomes the challenge. "We believe that open competition provides tremendous benefits for users," a spokesperson for the company noted.
The news for the launch of an US competitor of TikTok comes in times when the Chinese company is under fire in Washington. President Trump is considering a ban on TikTok in the United States on fears that it violates users' privacy and shares private data with the Chinese Communist Party.
TikTok has declined those accusations on numerous occasions, stating that it works independently from the Chinese government.
However, the US White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, already confirmed that Trump's administration would take action against TikTok ''within weeks.''
What do you think? Do you believe that Facebook's clone of TikTok would be more successful than its Chinese rival?