As TikTok’s future in the U.S. remains up in the air, Facebook Wednesday announced the official launch of rival Instagram Reels Stateside and in over 50 countries, calling it “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos … and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take center stage.”
Facebook will launch Reels in India, Brazil, France, Germany, the U.K., Japan, Australia and elsewhere.
In a post on its corporate blog, Facebook said Reels lets users record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and creative tools. Users can share reels on Feed and make them available on a public account to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore, offering “anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage,” it said.
Editing tools include audio from the Instagram music library; original audio; AR effects; and timer and countdown features to record hands free. Users can line up objects from previous clip before recording and choose to speed up or slow down parts of the video or audio.
The news comes as hugely popular music video sharing app Tiktok, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate ByteDance, finds itself in the odd situation of needing a buyer for its U.S. business by September 15 or being banned from the country. President Donald Trump has said as much and encouraged a bid by Microsoft in a conversation with the software giant’s CEO Satya Nardella and in public comments this week.
Microsoft is interested and has said it will try, possibly aligned in an acquisition with financial firms. The deal would cover TikTok’s service in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. TikTok is run by CEO Kevin Mayer, a former top Walt Disney executive.
Pundits have questioned how TikTok’s service would function just in those regions, split off from the rest of the world. Further confusing the matter are President Trump’s comments that a large portion of the sale price should flow to the U.S. Treasury since the government is facilitating the deal.
The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment made the recommendation to ban TikTok on data security concerns with China.