- Instagram is launching Reels, a new video format within Instagram Stories, that allows users to create 15-second videos set to music, according to TechCrunch and Variety.
- The new feature is a near copycat of popular social video app TikTok.
- Instagram is currently testing Reels with users in Brazil.
- The feature was initially hinted at in September.
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Instagram is launching a new video feature called Reels, and it’s nearly identical to popular video app TikTok.
Reels, which the company is currently testing in Brazil, is a new format within Instagram Stories that lets users take advantage of various video editing tools and an extensive music catalog to create 15-second clips. In September, a leak hinted that Instagram was testing this feature, which at the time appeared to be called Clips.
The feature, which was first reported by TechCrunch and Variety, appears to be an attempt by Instagram to compete more directly with Chinese social media app Tik Tok, which has been quickly growing its user base globally and in the US.
While new to Instagram, the short-form video and music feature looks similar to the format originally popularized by TikTok, a detail Instagram head Adam Mosseri seemed to acknowledge on Twitter Tuesday.
Love the phrase ‘remarkably decent,’ high praise for sure given how much you love TikTok, 🙌🏼
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) November 12, 2019
This isn't the first time that Instagram parent company Facebook has rolled out new features mimicking rival apps, as it has repeatedly done in its efforts to compete with Snapchat.
Instagram said it has seen the recent popularity of short-form videos set to music, both on its platform and elsewhere, and that it hopes to give the 500 million users who view Instagram Stories each day a new way to create and share videos.
"Instagram Stories has always been a home for expression and we believe this new format has huge potential to enable more creativity for people," Robby Stein, Instagram's director of product, said in a statement to Business Insider.
Reels launched Tuesday for both iOS and Android users in Brazil, can be found as a new shutter mode under Instagram Stories, next to Boomerang and Super-Zoom. Users can share Reels videos to their Stories, or more privately with Close Friends or via direct messages.
During the testing phase, Instagram will feature some users' videos in a new Top Reels section of the Explore tab in an apparent effort to replicate the virality seen on TikTok.