It’s official – Instagram Reels sets out to capture the TikTok market in India

Facebook officially announces the testing of Instagram ReelsInstagram
  • With Reels, users can post 15 second videos along with audio, effects and new creative tools.
  • A third of posts on Instagram in India are videos and short-form videos are 45%, which pushed the launch for Reels.
  • India is the fourth country to start testing Reels after Brazil, France and Germany.
Facebook has finally officially announced the launch of Instagram Reels in India – the social media giant’s alternative for TikTok. In a conference call with reporters in India today, Facebook said that Instagram Reels continues to be under testing in India and will soon be rolled out to all users.

Business Insider India had earlier reported about Instagram Reels being quietly tested in India.

With Reels, users can post 15 second videos along with audio, effects and new creative tools. Once they have created a video, users can choose to either share it with their followers only, but the default setting would be to share it on the public ‘Explore’ section.

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During the call, Ajit Mohan, VP, Facebook India said that this was a feedback received from users who have been testing Reels – that they would want their videos to reach out to an audience beyond their own followers.

So, the ‘Explore’ section works much like TikTok’s ‘For You’ section, where users can scroll through the videos.

TikTok ban and its impact on the launch of Reels

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India is the fourth country to start testing Reels after Brazil, France and Germany. And the product which is eerily similar to TikTok, has begun testing here just days after the ban on Chinese apps in India, including TikTok.

Mohan said that a third of posts on Instagram in India are videos and short-form videos are 45%, which pushed the launch for Reels. However, he said that the launch of Reels had nothing to do with the recent ban of TikTok in India.

“This has been in the making for a while. We have seen interest in short form videos for a while now. Fairly intense growth of Instagram in India over the last few years including the last few months in the context of the virus. We are also cognizant of the fact that this is a country with a very vibrant diverse cultural context with a very young population who is looking for new creative tools and formats to express themselves. Facebook has been particularly focussing in India,” he said during the call.

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The ban on TikTok had also seen many other apps like Chingari, Roposo, Mitron, Bolo Indya, Trell see thousands of users flock to their platform. But Facebook isn’t worried about competition.

“We expect the competitive intensity will remain in India. The tech space in India has been characterized by competition – this will continue especially in a thriving enterprising country like India and we welcome that. Our focus will continue to be what we have been doing at Instagram and shape the future of entertainment. This is the beginning of the foundation where we really have the opportunity to light up an entirely new generation of creators in India,” said Mohan.

However, TikTok in India had also seen a lot of backlash for communally sensitive content, questioning the safety of content on the platform.

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“One of the investment areas for Facebook as a company is in safety and integrity. We have invested billions of dollars over the years to ensure these systems are state of the art. The advantage is that all these existing systems will be used by Reels from day one. This is an ever evolving space, tech content in videos is improving with machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Vishal Shah, Vice President of product, Facebook.


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