Taking On TikTok: Meta’s New Editing Tools For Instagram & Facebook Reels

It’s no secret that TikTok has captivated Gen Z.  

Celebrating genuine and unfiltered content, TikTok has pushed authenticity to the forefront of social media. With applications like BeReal and Somewhere Good following suit, internet culture appears to be changing; and Meta-owned platforms like Instagram and Facebook are doing their best to keep up. 

Over the past few years, Instagram has pivoted away from its origins as a “photo-sharing app.” With the release of IGTV in 2018 and Reels in 2020, Instagram has started to prioritise “full-screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first” content.   

While users initially described Reels as a “shameless TikTok copycat,” it seems the tide has turned. According to Meta’s first-quarter earnings report for 2022, watching Reels makes up over 20% of the time users spend on Instagram. 

Despite the platform’s attempts at driving video, most of the content on Reels continues to be repurposed videos coming from TikTok. Hoping to make it easier for users to create original content, Meta has recently rolled out an array of new editing functions for Reels on Instagram and Facebook.

So, what are the new editing tools?

Attempting to boost engagement with Reels and attract younger users, Meta has introduced several features that have proved successful for Instagram stories. From now, content creators will be able to implement polls, quizzes, and emoji sliders into their Reels. 

Meta is hoping that the new editing tools will better cater to the creator economy. By allowing creators to import original audios from their camera roll and introducing “templates” – a tool that allows users to easily copy popular video formats – Reels may be able to challenge TikTok as the primary hub of viral memes. 

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Instagram has also bumped up the maximum video length on Reels. With the new update, users will be able to create 90-second-long videos, compared to the original 60-second limit. While it is nowhere near as dramatic as TikTok’s shift to 10-minute-long videos, Reels is definitely following TikTok’s lead. 

Facebook Reels are also getting an update, with Reels now available on the website’s “Creator Studio.” Pushing content creators to skip TikTok in the editing process, this function will allow users to make longer-form videos into Reels on a desktop. 

With Meta getting left behind as TikTok takes the lead among Gen Z, Instagram and Facebook aren’t giving up on the fight just yet. But whether these changes will drive users away from Instagram and Facebook rather than toward it is a risk that Meta just may have to take. 

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