The principle is the same as on TikTok: short and offbeat clips, musical or humorous. With Reels, Facebook has given itself a facelift by launching a new feature on Instagram in 50 countries on Wednesday 5 August, resembling in every way its Chinese competitor, which Donald Trump is threatening to banish.

As on TikTok, Reels videos are intended to be shared and discovered beyond the circle of contacts, “offering everyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on the global scene,” explains the Facebook release.

In search of a “new generation of creators”.

Tested since November in Brazil, and since June in France and Germany, the Reels tool is now available in 50 countries, from the United States to India, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

A new tab is available in Instagram, allowing you to add augmented reality visual effects, synchronized music or transitions to 15-second videos recorded with your smartphone.

“We weren’t the first to create news feeds, we weren’t the first to create stories, we’re certainly not the first to create short videos,” Vishal Shah, Instagram product manager, told AFP in June. Among the sources of inspiration, he also cited Snapchat and Vine.


The company is thus looking for a “new generation of creators” capable of renewing its user base.

Popularity and politics

With its family of applications (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp), the Californian giant reaches 3.14 billion people every month.

While social platforms compete for users and the time they spend on them – their business model based on personal data used to sell highly targeted advertising on a large scale – Facebook is always on the lookout for the latest trends in this booming sector, where younger people, in particular, are quickly adopting new and original concepts.


In 2012, the company acquired Instagram for $1 billion. It then largely monetized its audience, adding advertising and other sponsored content to the application.

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This acquisition is now in the sights of certain American elected officials, who see it as an abuse of a dominant position.

David Cicilline, a Democrat representative and member of the Judiciary Committee, considers that large technology companies have “too much power” and that some should be “split up”.

TikTok, on the other hand, has become even more popular as a result of the pandemic – the application now has about a billion users worldwide, following in the footsteps of Instagram. But it is at the heart of trade and political tensions between the United States and China. Washington accuses it, without evidence, of spying on its users on behalf of Beijing because it belongs to a Chinese group, ByteDance.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to ban it if it is not taken over by a US company by September 15. Microsoft is on the line.



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