Social Media

What is Instagram Reels, the new TikTok competitor?

Microsoft confirmed that they are in talks to buy TikTok in the United States and they hope to reach a deal before the deadline on 15 September.

What is Instagram Reels, the new TikTok competitor?
CHRIS DELMAS AFP

On Sunday Microsoft confirmed that they were in talks with Chinese company ByteDance to buy the some of TikTok's operation so the social media app can still work in the United States. President Donald Trump has said he will shut the company down unless an American company acquires it, with deadline set for 15 September.

Originally Microsoft wanted to acquire only 30% of the company, equivalent to the US operations, but Trump was unsatisfied by that plan, they are now negotiating for the acquisition in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Emergence of Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels were introduced on Tuesday - a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram, which is fairly similar in concept to TikTok. With the future of TikTok up in the air, Facebook-owned Instagram appears to be keen to take advantage.

People can now create videos that they can share with anyone on Instagram, with Reels offering the possibility to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and new creative tools. If you have a public account you can share these videos with anyone that has Instagram and if your account is private then only with the people that follow you.

There is a new “Featured” label with the emergence of Reels. If your Reel is featured in Explore, you’ll get a notification. Featured Reels are a selection of public Reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content that aims to entertain, inform and inspire others.