July 20, 2020
Watch out, TikTok: Facebook launching rival video editing app called Instagram Reels
Facebook is set to launch its own version of TikTok next month.
The social media giant recently announced plans to release Instagram Reels, a video platform that lets people create interactive short clips set to music. The app's functionality sounds a lot like TikTok, which is wildly popular among smartphone-toting teens and young adults.
The Reels app is currently testing in France, Germany, Brazil and India but will hit smartphones in the U.S. in early August, Facebook said.
"The community in our test countries has shown so much creativity in short-form video, and we've heard from creators and people around the world that they're eager to get started as well," a Facebook spokesperson told U.S. TODAY via email.
The Reels app is home to a ton of video editing features, and it connects to Instagram, allowing users to share the finished product to their Stories. If your Instagram account is public, the video can appear on the app's Explore section. Users will also be able to post edited Reels on their profiles.
The latest move to undermine TikTok comes as the video platform faces increased scrutiny from the U.S. government over how it handles user data. The government is looking to ban TikTok in the United States over national cybersecurity concerns, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month. The Navy has already banned personnel from downloading the app on government-issued smartphones.
Facebook and Instagram are known for biting off features from rival social networks.
For instance, earlier this year, Facebook added its own version of bitmoji—the personalized avatars well-known to Snapchat users. In 2016, Instagram copied Stories from Snapchat. And the following year, Messenger and WhatsApp got a similar tool.
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