First Take on TikTok Copycat

First Take on TikTok Copycat

President Trump made headlines earlier this month when he issued an executive order that will attempt to ban one of the world’s most prominent social media platforms, TikTok, if it isn’t acquired by a U.S. buyer within 45 days. 

  The social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based Internet technology company, became available in 2018 after it merged with, quickly growing a large customer base in America. According to, monthly active TikTok users in the U.S. has reached 85 million. The Trump administration has claimed that the Chinese government is using the app to gather information on American users. 

The only publicly identified bidders for TikTok have been technology powerhouses Microsoft, confirming on Aug. 2 that it would continue negotiating with representatives of ByteDance to buy the app, and Oracle, which entered talks the week of August 16. 

But it seems Microsoft and Oracle aren’t the only big-name organizations taking advantage of TikTok’s possible expulsion. A day before Trump’s executive order, Instagram released a new feature called “Insta Reels,” which many are now calling “the new TikTok.” Insta Reels is a feature on the app that works almost exactly the same way TikTok does. 

Reels lets users create videos up to 15-seconds long set to the user’s choice of music. After creating the video, the user can post it on a feed or story along with the option of making the Reel private or public. Sound familiar?

As a regular user of both apps myself, I find Instagram’s newest feature to be a tacky and obvious attempt at surpassing TikTok. While the functions are the same, Reels lack the sense of community you get when using TikTok. The app may be most known for its singing and dancing videos, but TikTok has a breadth of many genres. 

One of my favorite things about TikTok is that it divides genres of videos such as family comedy, pets, anime, art, and other categories to create a variety of smaller communities, each with their own culture, that users can easily access via the search function. 

As for Insta Reels, not only is the time limit very short, with 15-second videos versus the 60 seconds TikTok allots, there is no separation between genres. In fact, you can’t even search video topics. On top of that, it isn’t as intuitive as TikTok. It was so unclear, in fact, that I had to look up “how to enable Instagram Reels” in order to start using the function. 

But despite these substandard aspects of Instagram Reels, it appears the feature is expanding in popularity at an even faster rate than TikTok initially did, in part due to Instagram’s massive user base. Already there are viral trends such as the “shoe flip outfit change,” in which people change outfits in the speedy transition of a show flip.

While the future of TikTok remains uncertain, Instagram may be looking at another success story following their launch of Instagram “stories.” Insta Reels might just be the next TikTok after all.