Has Face­book got any orig­i­nal ideas?

The Western Star - - NEWS - JACK GRAMENZ

FACE­BOOK- owned im­age shar­ing so­cial me­dia plat­form In­sta­gram has an­nounced a new fea­ture that has been more or less ripped off from its surg­ing Chi­nese ri­val TikTok.

The new In­sta­gram Reels fea­ture – which will roll out in Brazil be­fore an ex­pected global roll­out – is part of the plat­form’s Sto­ries mode.

In Reels, you can cre­ate 15sec­ond videos set to mu­sic, or you can take the au­dio from some­one else’s video to cre­ate your own ver­sion or twist it in a new di­rec­tion.

Fans of irony may note the sim­i­lar­i­ties. This phi­los­o­phy of “bor­row­ing” from another user’s video to cre­ate one of your own is cen­tral to the TikTok plat­form Face­book has taken the idea from and helps turn jokes into memes that go vi­ral as more and more users put their own spin on the con­tent.

This copy-paste shar­ing and the im­pact of its vi­ral­ity has pre­vi­ously demon­strated the po­ten­tial power of TikTok in the fu­ture.

US mu­si­cian Lil Nas X spent a record-break­ing 19 weeks at the top of the charts af­ter his hit song Old Town

Road went vi­ral through TikTok users.

It’s not even the first time Face­book has copied TikTok – last year it launched Lasso, a stand-alone app still lim­ited to the US, where it hasn’t re­ally caught on.

Now In­sta­gram will give users the op­tion to cre­ate sim­i­lar con­tent with­out even leav­ing the app.

Adding Reels to In­sta­gram makes it more likely it can build a user base since you won’t have to down­load a new app or make a new ac­count and can start post­ing clips to the In­sta­gram story you al­ready have.

The “per­ma­nent feed” that’s ex­isted on In­sta­gram since the start will con­tinue of­fer­ing the cu­rated and as­pi­ra­tional “high­light reel” to show off your most im­por­tant con­tent that best show­cases your per­sonal brand, while the Sto­ries sec­tion (a fea­ture copied from ri­val Snapchat in 2016) will con­tinue us­ing its ex­pir­ing vi­gnettes to share more mun­dane or silly parts of your ev­ery­day life.

In­sta­gram di­rec­tor of prod­uct man­age­ment Robby Stein told TechCrunch that TikTok “de­serve a ton of credit” for pop­u­lar­is­ing the for­mat it will now use for Reels, mirroring pre­vi­ous com­ments from one of In­sta­gram’s founders re­gard­ing Snapchat.

“Your friends are al­ready all on In­sta­gram. I think that’s only true of In­sta­gram,” Mr Stein said.

Face­book’s power be­com­ing en­trenched through its main prod­uct (being us) makes sense even if it is a strange thing to hear a se­nior fig­ure in the com­pany ad­mit.

Pic­ture: iStock

‘BOR­ROWED’ FEA­TURE: Face­book has in­tro­duced another new fea­ture that it copied from a ri­val.

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