Instagram’s TikTok rival “Reels” coming to US in August
Instagram took the concept behind Snapchat and made it its own when the service launched Stories in 2016, and now they are taking inspiration from TikTok for another new feature. "Reels," Instagram's new short form video feature, has already been tested in Brazil, France, Germany, and India, and it's set to launch in the US in August, NBC News reports.
Reels allows users to upload and share 15-second videos, pick from a catalog of music to soundtrack it, and borrow and remix audio from other videos to add to their own. It has editing tools similar to TikTok's, including a countdown timer and speed adjustment, as well as a "Featured Reels" listing of popular videos. It doesn't have TikTok's two-tabbed scrolling feed, however, which many point to as one of the things that makes it so addictive.
The arrival of Reels comes at an interesting time, as TikTok comes under government scrutiny, in the US and elsewhere. India banned the app, along with 58 others of Chinese origin, in late June, saying that they "harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens."
The Trump administration is also considering a TikTok ban, something chief of staff Mark Meadows said could come in "weeks, not months." "There are a number of administration officials who are looking at the national security risk as it relates to TikTok, WeChat and other apps that have the potential for national security exposure, specifically as it relates to the gathering of information on American citizens by a foreign adversary," Meadows told reporters earlier this week. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously told Fox News they were "certainly looking at" a ban, saying, "With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cellphones, the United States will get this one right too."
This comes as the US is weighing a "sweeping travel ban on Chinese Communist Party members" in the form of an administrative order, New York Times reports.