Facebook Takes On TikTok With Reels Expansion

Amid claims of cloning its rivals, Facebook is adding a very TikTok-like feature to Instagram in the U.S. and 50 other countries.

Named Reels, the feature encourages Instagram users to record, edit and then share 15-second multi-clip videos with audio and various effects and creative tools.

The expansion comes as TikTok faces strong headwinds in the U.S. and other key markets around the world.

Citing national security concerns, President Trump and other officials are threatening to ban TikTok in the U.S. -- that is, unless its Beijing-based parent ByteDance sells its stake in the app to Microsoft or another buyer.

Defending Facebook’s business before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, last week, Mark Zuckerberg appealed to lawmakers’ nationalism and fear of foreign-owned technology companies.

“We believe in values -- democracy, competition, inclusion and free expression -- that the American economy was built on,” Facebook’s cofounder-CEO said. “Many other tech companies share these values, but there’s no guarantee our values will win out.”

In response, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer accused Zuckerberg of feigning “patriotism” in order to maintain its dominant market position in the U.S.

“Let’s focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor -- namely Facebook -- disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the U.S.,” Mayer wrote in a post.

Mayer also dismissed Reels as “another copycat product,” while noting that Facebook’s earlier TikTok clone named Lasso “failed quickly.”

During the hearing last week, lawmakers also accused Facebook of engaging in unfair businesses practices by copying its rivals.

Asked by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) how many rivals Facebook has “copied,” Zuckerberg said he couldn’t say.
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