In another segment of ‘Things Facebook stole that no-one asked for’, Instagram just got its newest feature called Reels.
Reels is supposed to be a TikTok knockoff feature built directly into Instagram Stories. It’s available worldwide now (including South Africa), so anyone can jump in and make short-form videos with weird filters and audio tracks.
Instagram’s Reels lets users create 15-second videos and sprinkle a little filter here and editing there. It works almost identically to TikTok, with similar controls but an added Insta-Story flare to it. So if you’re used to curating Insta-Stories or posting on Instagram, you don’t need much of an introduction here.
Starting today, users will have access to Reels straight from the Instagram camera, but you’ll also be able to browse other people’s Reels in the Explore tab, if you’re looking for ‘em.
The only snag? If you’re not a business/content creator/influencer, your Reels won’t pop up in the Explore tab — that’s reserved for the professionals, kids. This is an odd feature, barring private users from the Explore tab would make the possibility of going viral far less than you’d get in TikTok. So for these ‘normal’ users, Reels will only be posted in their feeds and Stories.
Of course, it’s a good time for Facebook to give the go-ahead on Reels, as TikTok faces being banned in the US — one of its biggest markets. The conflict between the ByteDance-owned app and the US administration is pushing for a US company to buy out its US segment. And Microsoft may be interested. That shouldn’t bother South Africans as much though, but enjoy Reels or TikTok at your own discretion.