Facebook is testing Instagram’s Reels feature in India, Business Insider reports. Reels is a video editing tool designed to let people create TikTok-style 15 second videos that can be shared on their Instagram Stories, sent via DM, or posted to a section of the Explore tab called Top Reels.
The news emerged just days after the Indian government banned TikTok along with 58 other China-based apps. Business Insider reports that some Instagram users in India have already started receiving Instagram’s new feature in an update, and a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the company plans to release the feature more widely.
“We’re planning to start testing an updated version of Reels in more countries,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider, “Reels is a fun, creative way for people to both express themselves and be entertained. We’re excited to bring this new version to more of our global community. No further plans to share on launch date or countries for now.”
Reels has had a relatively slow rollout worldwide after first launching as a test in Brazil last year on both iOS and Android. Last month, TechCrunch reported that the feature had expanded to France and Germany. Facebook has also recently announced the shutdown of its standalone TikTok-style video app Lasso, with some speculating that it came as the result of an upcoming launch for Reels.
Facebook has previously integrated similar features from competing apps into its own services to better compete with them. In 2016 we reported that Instagram’s Stories feature was a “near-perfect copy” of Snapchat’s, for example. In audio leaked last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted TikTok’s similarity to Instagram’s Explore tab, indicating that it may play host to part of the company’s attempts to compete with its Chinese rival.
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