While TikTok is under attack, Instagram comes up with an alternative

While Microsoft and TikTok’s parent company talk about a takeover under great pressure, Instagram sees its chance. It has launched ‘Reels’, a new feature within the app that should prevent users from switching to the much-discussed competitor.

The new component is available in fifty countries, including the Netherlands. It is one of the clearest signs that Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, sees a danger in the rise of TikTok. Many young people are on it and they are an important target group.

Same setup

With ‘Reels’ users can upload 15-second videos with music underneath. In addition to the timeline, these also appear on the so-called Explore page, which provides an overview of what’s going on on the platform at that time, adapted to someone’s viewing behaviour.

The timing of the launch is striking. TikTok is under fire in the US. The U.S. government sees a security risk in the app; people are afraid that the Chinese government may access user data via the parent company. The company says it will not cooperate.

CCeit Stories, together with cyber security expert Sanne Maasakkers, recently investigated the app:

Of TikTokkers who have already invested many hours in the platform will use the ‘secure’ Facebook alternative is the question. It seems that Instagram is trying to persuade them: The Wall Street Journal reported at the end of last month that the social network popular TikTokkers has made the offer to switch. According to business newspaper sources, this would involve hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In addition, there will undoubtedly also be a (large) group that does not yet have such a close relationship with the app and whose friends and family are also on Instagram.

It’s a strategy that worked well before. A few years ago Facebook saw a major competitor in Snapchat. The storytelling function, where you share photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours, was on the rise at the time. So in 2016 the social network copied the function to Instagram: Stories. That turned out to be a smart move that probably prevented users from switching to Snapchat. Instagram now has more than a billion users. Snapchat has about 240 million users

Stride with Microsoft

Indirectly Facebook also starts a potential battle with Microsoft with the Reels feature. A deal with TikTok is still not certain, but the Financial Times reported yesterday that parent company ByteDance sees it as the best option and that conversations have gained momentum.

The social network is not the only one who wants to compete with TikTok. The as yet relatively unknown app Triller also tries to grab a piece of the success. And YouTube is said to be working on a rival: Shorts. For the time being, Instagram with Reels seems to have the best cards to actually become a serious opponent.