For several months, President Donald Trump has been trying to ban the social media channel TikTok, owned by the Chinese technology company ByteDance. But after the Capitol Building Riots, TikTok got rid of the 45th U.S. president instead, banning him instead, along with several other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. So while TikTok’s creators can breathe a sigh of relief on being banned, there’s still the matter of Facebook and Instagram releasing competitive apps that rival the video app.
In mid-December, Facebook’s experimental app, Collab, released to the public. The once-private beta app is now only available for iPhone users in the Apple store. Built by New Product Experimentation from Facebook, the app is open to those who are 13 and over.
Music video lovers can open the app to listen to and view a feed of three-video sets that play back-to-back. Each music collaboration is a maximum of 15 seconds and plays on a loop. Users can record their own collaborations and clips, and publish for the public to view and favorite.
Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg also owns Instagram as of 2012, which has its own version of TikTok: Reels.
This past August, the social media platform introduced Reels, which allows Instagram users to record and edit 15-second, multi-clip videos with audio. Users can share the videos on an Instagram Feed, which is different from Instagram Stories mainly because the curated content doesn’t disappear after 24 hours and reaches non-followers. For private Instagram accounts, Reels will follow those specifications, too.
According to Instagram, Reels in Explore (also for ages 13 and up) offers users various creative editing tools such as augmented reality effects, a hands-free timer and countdown, seamless transitions, the ability to slow down or speed up the pace of the video, and the option for others to create reels with their own audio by choosing “Use Audio.”
Whether TikTok has permanent competition with Collab or Reels remains to be seen. Short music clip apps are not much of an anomaly, especially for those who remember Vine, also a vertical video, micro-content idea that incorporated funny clips and music. However, Vine videos were up to 6 seconds. When it shut down in 2017, Vine Camera didn’t reach the same kind of popularity and Dom Hofmann (Vine’s co-founder) has not reached the same success with Byte.
Vine (owned by Twitter in 2012 and officially released in 2013) had an estimated 200 million active users, but TikTok has collected 800 million active users since September 2016. While this is a major feat, keep in mind that Facebook has 1.82 billion active daily users and Instagram has more than 1.1 billion.
Only time will tell whether users on Instagram and Facebook will make their way to the alternate video-sharing platforms. As of now, TikTok users who have tested them out admit that they’re pretty much the same, so it may come down to preference as opposed to performance.