According to The Hill, Facebook’s Instagram launched a direct competitor to short-form video app TikTok in 50 countries Wednesday, August 5, amid antitrust scrutiny.
Reels, which is available within Instagram on iOS and Android, lets users edit together 15-second clips with music.
Instagram will now include Reels in its Explore page, allowing users to scroll through them vertically, much like TikTok’s “for you” page.
The launch of Reels comes as President Trump threatens to block TikTok from operating in the US over its ties to China.
The short-form video app’s parent company, ByteDance, is headquartered in and operates out of Beijing, though TikTok’s American data has been moved to servers in the US.
Although it is questionable whether Trump has the authority to ban an app, the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has reportedly asked ByteDance to sell off TikTok.
Microsoft confirmed Sunday that it has been exploring a deal to purchase the app after speaking with Trump.
Microsoft stated that it would complete discussions with TikTok by September 15. The companies have both provided a notice of intent to the CFIUS to explore a proposal that would give Microsoft ownership of the app in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The launch of Reels also comes one week after executives from America’s biggest tech companies, including Facebook, testified before Congress on competition in the digital marketplace.
Full Content: The Hill