With Reels, Facebook gives Instagram a facelift and wants to compete with TikTok

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With Reels, Facebook wants to give itself a second youth. This new feature of videos resembling TikTok in every way has been available on Instagram in 50 countries since Wednesday.

The principle is the same as on TikTok: short and offbeat clips, musical or humorous. With Reels, Facebook is giving itself a facelift by launching, Wednesday, August 5, in 50 countries a new feature on Instagram, resembling in all respects its Chinese competitor, which Donald Trump threatens to ban.

Like on TikTok, the Reels videos are meant to be shared and discovered beyond the circle of contacts, “giving everyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on the global stage,” the release explains. Facebook.

In search of a “new generation of designers”

Tested since November in Brazil, and since June in France and Germany, the Reels tool is now available in 50 countries, from the United States to India via the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

A new tab is available in Instagram, and allows you to add augmented reality visual effects, synchronized music or transitions to 15-second videos, recorded with the smartphone.

“We were not the first to create news feeds, we were not the first to create ‘stories’, we are certainly not the first to create short videos”, admitted in June to AFP Vishal Shah, Instagram product manager. Among the sources of inspiration, he also cited Snapchat and Vine.

The company is thus looking for a “new generation of creators” able to renew its user base.

Popularity and politics

With its family of applications (Facebook, Instagram and Messenger and WhatsApp), the Californian giant reaches 3.14 billion people every month.

As social platforms compete for users and the time they spend there – their data-driven business model used to sell ultra-targeted ads at scale – Facebook is always on the lookout for the latest. trends in this sector in turmoil, where the youngest, in particular, quickly adopt new original concepts.

In 2012, the company bought Instagram for a billion dollars. She then largely monetized her audience, adding ads and other sponsored content to the app.

This acquisition is currently in the crosshairs of certain American elected officials, who see it as an abuse of a dominant position.

David Cicilline, Democratic representative and member of the judiciary commission, considers in particular that large technology companies have “too much power” and that some should be “split”.

Facing Reels, TikTok, for its part, has gained further popularity thanks to the pandemic – the app now has around one billion users worldwide, following Instagram. But it finds itself at the heart of trade and political tensions between the United States and China. Washington accuses her, without evidence, of spying on her users on behalf of Beijing, because she belongs to a Chinese group, ByteDance.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to ban it if it is not bought by an American company by September 15. Microsoft is in the running.

With AFP


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