Meta is changing Facebook and Instagram to look and act more like TikTok

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Meta is changing Facebook and Instagram to look and act more like TikTok
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg (center).REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
  • Meta is making changes to Instagram and Facebook to automatically recommend more content to users.
  • Instagram will convert more videos to Reels, a video format that resembles TikTok.
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Meta has tweaked both and Facebook and Instagram's apps to more closely resemble its competitor TikTok. The changes appear to signal how much of an existential threat Meta perceives TikTok to be.

Instagram announced Thursday that from now on any video under 15 minutes will be converted into a Reel. If that video is posted by a public account, it will also be automatically fed into the company's recommendation algorithms to show to other accounts.

Instagram launched Reels in the US in 2020, and it was viewed widely as a clone of TikTok's short-form video format.

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For Facebook the company is splitting its classic News Feed on its iOS and Android apps. Users will be immediately taken to a "Home" tab, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company's "discovery engine" will promote content it thinks the user will be interested in.

Facebook users will be able to look at chronologically ordered posts from their friends and followed Pages by switching from the Home tab a new "Feeds" tab.

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Zuckerberg told Meta staff the company faces an "unprecedented level of competition" from Tiktok in February, Bloomberg reported.

"People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly," Zuckerberg said during a company-wide meeting, per Bloomberg.

Facebook's user numbers sank for the first time ever in the final quarter of 2021.

TikTok meanwhile has more monthly Gen Z users than both Facebook and Instagram, according to a November 2021 analysis by Insider Intelligence. Its advertising business is also booming, and although it is still much smaller than Meta's own advertising empire it has already overtaken Twitter and Snapchat combined.

Meta declined to comment when contacted by Insider about whether the changes to Facebook and Instagram were designed to copy TikTok.

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