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Instagram launches TikTok rival Reels in the UK

The feature, which has already launched in France, Germany and Brazil, allows users to create short, 15-second videos within Instagram and overlay them with music or filters.

Article originally published by The Telegraph. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

It comes just days after Microsoft made a swoop for parts of Chinese viral video app

Instagram is hoping to take advantage of TikTok's troubles by launching a rival services called Reels in the UK.

The feature, which has already launched in France, Germany and Brazil, allows users to create short, 15-second videos within Instagram and overlay them with music or filters.

They can then either share them publicly, and have them featured in an "explore" tab, or keep them private.

The Facebook-owned company said Reels would be a "big part of the future of entertainment on Instagram – with Reels, Stories, Live & IGTV, we’re excited to give people more ways to create & enjoy video the way they want".

News of the launch comes just days after it emerged that US tech giant Microsoft was in talks to buy the US, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian parts of TikTok-in a move which could save the app from a US ban.

Donald Trump had previously suggested that TikTok's Chinese owners meant it was a national security risk, although a Microsoft deal, to portion out those parts of the app, is expected to allay those fears.

It is not yet clear why the UK was not included in the takeover plans, although an announcement on a TikTok investment into the country is expected later this week.

Some speculation has centred around whether TikTok's owner Bytedance is looking to sell the UK part of TikTok to another buyer.

The app has been seen as one of the biggest threats to smartphone app leader Facebook, which is behind Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram.

Figures from Ofcom suggested TikTok grew its UK user numbers from 5.4 million in January to 12.9 million in April.

TikTok chief Kevin Mayer last week launched a stinging attack on Facebook, accusing his rival of "maligning attacks" and developing "copycat products".

Instagram, however, has denied the UK rollout is a response to the ongoing controversy around TikTok.

Vishal Shah, Instagram's vice president of product, said the app has been working on the tool "for over a year", and that platforms often took inspiration from each other when creating new features.

"I think the consumer product ecosystem is one that's constantly being inspired by the things that people are doing around then, whether that's internally in your own organisation or more broadly," he told the PA news agency.

"I think the fact that people have a choice and that they can pick from a different set of apps to use and find the one that works for them, I think, is great.

"I also think that not any one company can invent everything – we take for granted now that it's very common for mobile products to have a feed, that was new when Facebook brought it to scale."

It has also managed to attract younger users, something Facebook has struggled with in recent years.

Facebook shuttered its earlier efforts at a video app earlier this year, named Lasso, which had been available to users in the US and central America.

It is thought the double down on Instagram Reels is coming due to that app historically having a younger user base than Facebook.

Instagram believes its user base of more than one billion people – considerably larger than TikTok and other short-form video apps – will be a key selling point in drawing content creators to the platform.


This article was written by Hannah Boland from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Article originally published by The Telegraph. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

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