If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, Instagram has just given TikTok a huge compliment. In a move mirroring its introduction of stories in 2016, Instagram launched Instagram Reels this week – a not-so-well-concealed attempt to copy its up and coming competitor TikTok. The new feature allows users to "record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools", a description that sounds eerily reminiscent of what made TikTok so popular in the first place.
Back in 2016, Instagram had launched Instagram Stories to (successfully) fight off Snapchat. First introduced in August 2016, the Stories format was heavily “inspired” by one of Snapchat’s most popular features and gradually found its way to all of Facebook’s social media and messaging apps. All of Facebook's stories features, i.e. Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status (which might as well have been named Stories too) and Facebook Stories quickly surpassed Snapchat in terms of daily active users, proving to Facebook that cloning popular features pioneered by competitors can be a winning strategy.