Instagram is reportedly seizing on India’s ban of TikTok to begin building a user base for its TikTok clone, Reels.
The Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing app is expanding the test of Reels to India as its progenitor has unceremoniously gotten the block, Business Insider reports. The timely rollout of Reels — which enables users to record 15-second clips backed by music or other audio formats, and share them to Instagram Stories as well as elsewhere across the app — arrives days after Instagram confirmed that it was expanding the rollout of Reels to France and Germany. (The product first launched in Brazil last fall).
Last week, the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps — including TikTok — following a military standoff between the two countries, the AP reports, after 20 Indian soldiers died in a border clash with China earlier this month. India cited privacy concerns in tendering the ban, with its information technology ministry stating that the apps in question were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data.” Indian phone companies have been asked to block the apps, the AP reports, but they can’t be automatically erased from devices where they’ve already been downloaded.
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The AP reports that India is one of TikTok’s largest markets — likely why Instagram seized on the opportunity in such rapid order.
Meanwhile, Instagram’s parent, Facebook, shuttered its own TikTok clone, Lasso, last week, as Instagram expanded its Reels test from Brazil to France and Germany.
“We’re planning to start testing an updated version of Reels in more countries,” Facebook told Business Insider in a statement. “Reels is a fun, creative way for people to both express themselves and be entertained. We’re excited to bring this new version to more of our global community. No further plans to share on launch date or countries for now.”