Instagram takes a jab at TikTok by updating its Reels recommendation algorithm to de-rank clips with its competitor’s watermarks
- Instagram is updated its Reels recommendation algorithm
- The algorithm will not promote Reels that have a TikTok watermark
- The firm says its users do not enjoy seeing recycled content on the platform
- Instagram has been trying to compete with TikTok since it released Reels
Instagram is taking on TikTok with a new update that will de-rank Reels with its competitor’s watermark.
The update is being unleashed to an algorithm tasked with recommending Reels with the hopes of users creating unique content on the platform – and not just recycling from other apps.
Instagram launched Reels just five days before former President Donald Trump announced plans to ban Chinese-owned TikTok in the US, with the hopes of being the front runner in the video content space.
However, six months later and Reels has not gained uptick in usage as Instagram had hoped and TikTok is still around and seems to be thriving with its some 100 million users in just the US alone – which may be why Instagram is not promoting the watermarked clips.
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8Instagram is taking on TikTok with a new update that will de-rank Reels showing its competitor’s watermark. The update is being unleashed to an algorithm tasked with recommending Reels with the hopes of users creating unique content on the platform
DailyMail.com has contacted Instagram for comment and has yet to receive a response.
Reels offers users shot-form video editing tools that lets users be creative with 30-second video clips with captions and music.
On the other hand, TikTok offers similar features, but allows clips up to 60 seconds.
‘TikTok is light years ahead of Reels,’ said Evan Asano, CEO of influencer marketing agency Mediakix, referring to TikTok’s powerful content recommendation system and the fact that the app is far more focused than Instagram’s, which has a growing list of competing video offerings.
Reels offers users shot-form video editing tools that lets users be creative with 30-second video clips with captions and music. On the other hand, TikTok offers similar features, but allows clips up to 60 seconds
And those words may have hit Instagram hard, as it seems set on taking TikTok down – at least from its own platform.
Instagram spokesperson Devi Narasimhan in an email to The Verge: ‘We’re building on what we’ve learned from Explore to recommend fun and entertaining videos in places like the Reels tab, and personalize the experience.’
‘We are getting better at using ranking signals that help us predict whether people will find a reel entertaining and whether we should recommend it.’
Narasimhan also explained that Instagram conducted a survey with its users, which found many have a ‘less satisfying’ Reels experience when they are seem tons of content recycled from other apps, or is blurry.
This, according to the spokesperson, is the reason for the update to the recommendation algorithm.
Instagram has released tips on its @contentcrators page, which gives users advice on creating their own content, as the Facebook-owned company is not looking to be a TikTok advertiser.
Instagram conducted a survey with its users, which found many have a ‘less satisfying’ Reels experience when they are seem tons of content recycled from other apps, or is blurry
The suggestions include ‘starting a trend’ or participating in the latest dance craze.
Facebook has been under fire for years over its obsession with copycatting other platforms,
The firm’s first shift down this path began in 2017, when it took a page out of Snapchat’s playbook and released Stories to Instagram.
However, the move seems to have paid off as the feature has more than 500 million daily active users while Snap says it has about 238 million, as reported on by the Washington Post in August 2020.
TikTok has not taken Facebook’s move lightly and called out the firm last year when Reels first went live in Brazil.
TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer wrote in a blog post that the company welcomes competition from Facebook, even as he threw a slight at the company.
‘To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on,’ he wrote.
WHAT IS TIKTOK?
TikTok is a Chinese social media app where users can live stream, create short videos and music videos and Gifs with a host of functions.
TikTok’s tagline is ‘Make every second count’.
It was the most downloaded app in the US in 2018 and the world’s fourth most downloaded app in 2018, ahead of Instagram and Snapchat.
TikTok is known in China as Douyin where it was launched in 2016 and then made more widely available around the world in 2017.
Douyin is still the version of the app used in China, available to download separately to TikTok.
Last year, the app was merged with popular music video lip-syncing app Musical.ly, also with headquarters in China.
Most children use the app to film themselves lip-syncing to chart hits.
It offers users a raft if colourful modification and editing tools including overlaying music, sound, animated stickers, filters and augmented reality (AR) for creating short videos.
The Beijing based social network has more than 500 million active users and the company is now worth more than $75 billion (£58 billion).