Instagram Reels, Facebook's competitor to TikTok, rolls out in the U.S.

Brendan Morrow
·2 min read

Facebook is rolling out its new feature that's essentially TikTok, the app President Trump is threatening to shut down in the United States.

Instagram Reels, Facebook's TikTok competitor that allows users to share short 15-second videos accompanied by music, launched in the U.S. and in dozens of other countries on Wednesday.

"Reels gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they love on Instagram, and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take center stage," Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said in an announcement.

This comes days after Trump announced his intention to ban TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, in the U.S. due to national security concerns. Microsoft is discussing a potential U.S. acquisition of TikTok, and Trump this week set a Sept. 15 deadline for an American company to purchase it, threatening to shut down the app if no sale occurs.

Ahead of the launch of Reels, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer ripped Facebook in a blog post, describing Reels as "another copycat product" from the company after "their other copycat Lasso failed quickly." ByteDance also blasted Facebook for what it described as "plagiarism and smear."

While testifying before Congress last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by one lawmaker about whether the company copies its competitors, to which he said, "We've certainly adapted features that others have led in."

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