Rather than a standalone entity like TikTok, Reels exists as a feature on Instagram.
First reported by NBC News, the expansion comes as TikTok’s Beijing-based parent ByteDance faces growing questions over user privacy.
Citing national security concerns, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said during an interview with Fox News that he was “looking at” a nationwide TikTok ban.
The comment followed India’s decision to outlaw TikTok and 58 other apps of Chinese-owned apps for threatening the “sovereignty and integrity" of the country.
Seeming to seize the moment, Facebook promptly pushed Reels into India.
Both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee are now discouraging staffers from using TikTok on their work phones, while Wells Fargo has begun advising employees to delete the app from the phones on which they conduct company business.
In response to these developments, independent tech analyst Ben Thompson recently described a U.S. ban of TikTok as “seemingly inevitability.”
For its part, Snap just began testing the same vertical-swiping feature that was popularized by TikTok.
TikTok’s rise in popularity around the world has been remarkable.
In the U.S. and other Western countries, children ages 4 to 15 now spend about the same amount of time on TikTok as they do on YouTube, according to recent research from Qustodio.