TikTok’s time might be running out, but its concept could get a second life because of Facebook. The social media giant is reportedly preparing to roll out Instagram Reels, which is similar to the video-sharing app.
Facebook announced that they would introduce Instagram Reels to the United States and more than 50 other countries as rumors of a TikTok ban continue to gain momentum. The new feature will allow users to make and upload 15-second videos with a vast choice of music options and the option to sample other videos. Users can tap the “reels” icon on Instagram to make and post the videos, which would have the same viral potential as TikTok.
Facebook introduced Instagram Reels to Brazil in 2019, followed by France, Germany and India. It follows controversy surrounding TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. Officials accused the China-based company of being a threat to national security. A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that ByteDance allegedly could be involved with the Chinese government to commit human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims.
The U.S. Army, Navy and Marines banned the app on all government devices. Both Amazon and Wells Fargo warned their employees about downloading the app. The Federal Trade Commission fined TikTok in 2019 for failing to protect the privacy of minors, while South Korea fined the app for failing to protect privacy.
In a letter to President Trump, 25 members of Congress wrote, “These popular apps’ data collection practices, coupled with China’s onerous cybersecurity laws requiring all companies operating in China, including TikTok’s parent company, Byte Dance, to share user data with CCP authorities, present a very real threat to U.S. national security.”
TikTok was founded in 2012 but did not arrive in the United States until 2018 when it merged with Musical.ly. In 2019 and 2020, several songs went viral on TikTok and subsequently hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo, “Say So” by Doja Cat and “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce.