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Is Instagram about to take on TikTok?

A new Instagram feature looks set to rival the popular Chinese app

TechCrunch has reported the roll out of Reels in Brazil, a snazzy new feature on Instagram that lets people mix video and audio. Users film videos of up to 15 seconds, alter the speed of their recorded content, then fix up their mini creation with a soundtrack from a huge catalogue of music (or they can search through vids and nab audio from someone else’s uploads.)

Sound familiar at all?

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Facebook hasn’t been shy about the fact that the feature is similar in character to TikTok, the app where teens and tweens go to have a good time and share their creations with the world. Speaking with TechCrunch, Instagram’s director of product admitted that “TikTok deserve a ton of credit for popularizing this format.”

Instagram’s Reels can be shared in a variety of ways – via direct message, via stories, or via a new section of Instagram’s Explore tab called Top Reels. The option to send the Reels privately is one thing that distinguishes the new feature from TikTok. Presumably, this is so you can get a quick thumbs-up from the lads before posting your very funny vid.

It’s a move that feels familiar to the creation of Instagram’s ‘stories’ back in 2016, which seemed like a features-grab from the popular Snapchat app at the time. So what’s Instagram’s end goal? Will we be left with one bloated, behemoth app that takes over the entirety of our phone storage?

Related content: TikTok fined for hoovering up data

So far, it hasn’t been confirmed if the feature will roll out in other countries, but it’s probably dependent on the popularity of Reels in Brazil.

One thing is clear though, which is that TikTok doesn’t need the headache at the moment. The company is currently under pressure from the US government, which has serious concerns about the platform’s collection of user data

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