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Instagram Reels is a video sharing feature on Instagram that was first launched in Brazil in November 2019 and then launched in 50 countries including the United States in early August 2020 soon after news of a possible TikTok Ban in the United States. The feature, similar to TikTok, allows Instagram users to create short videos set to music and browse other videos created through the "Explore" much like TikTok's "For You" page.
In November 2019, Tech Crunch reported that Instagram had launched the feature under the name "Cenas" in Brazil. On August 2nd, CNBC reported that TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, accused Facebook of plagiarism with the feature. On August 5th, 2020, Instagram announced the launch of Reels in the United States in a blog post saying, "Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools." That same day, Instagram account Creators shared a promo video of the feature saying, "A new way to create short entertaining videos, reach new audiences and be part of cultural moments on Instagram. With Reels, you can record and edit multi-clip videos with music, effects, and new creative tools. Share reels with friends on Feed or with the larger Instagram community in Explore" (shown below). The post gained over 23,300 views in three hours. The Verge, Tech Crunch and Axios published articles on the August launch.
On August 5th, 2020, Instagram described Reels' features in a blog post and share images of the interface (shown below). After selecting the Reels option within Instagram's camera, Instagramers can choose audio from an in-app music library and use a gallery of effects and clipping tools to create a short video. Reels can be set to private or public and does not include features like Duets or uploading your own audio like TikTok does.
On July 27th, 2020, In anticipation of the August launch, Twitter user @JeffRightNoww uploaded a video captioned, "Instagram back at it again.. Reels?!" where he acts out a discussion between TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram (shown below). The video gained over 105,100 views and 3,800 likes in eight days.
Instagram back at it again.. Reels?! pic.twitter.com/HOjrbB6ypl— Jeff Wright (@JeffRightNoww) July 27, 2020
On August 5th, 2020, Miley Cyrus published a song teaser exclusively to Instagram Reels. Twitter user @PopCraveMusic shared the Reels clip saying, "Listen to a new snippet of Miley Cyrus’ new comeback single, #MidnightSky available exclusively on Instagram #Reels." (shown below). The video received over 3,300 likes that day.
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