Facebook Is Launching Reels, Its TikTok Copycat Feature, in the U.S.

Facebook is doing more imitation in what’s sincerest form of flattery to the massively popular TikTok app, which now has 1 billion monthly users.

A little more than a year after the launch of Instagram Reels — a short-form video feature very much like TikTok — Facebook is bringing Reels to its core app in the U.S.

Reels on Facebook, as with the Instagram version (and TikTok’s app), can include music, audio and augmented-reality effects. Available in the Facebook iOS and Android app, Reels can appear in the News Feed or in Groups. Reels on Facebook are limited to 30 seconds, whereas Instagram Reels can be up to 60 seconds long.

By default, Reels on Facebook are set to be public for creators who are over 18, but users can change the the settings to limit access to friends.

Similar to Instagram Reels, Facebook said, the company will soon begin testing full-screen and immersive ads between Reels (which can be commented, liked, saved, shared or skipped). The social media company will also test sticker ads and banner ads in Reels on Facebook.

In addition, Facebook is testing the ability for Instagram creators to have their Reels recommended on Facebook. The initial test includes a small number of Instagram creators, who will have an option to have their Reels recommended on Facebook.

“With the ability to create Reels on Facebook and have their Instagram Reels suggested to people on Facebook, creators — whether they are just starting out or already have a large following — will have more ways to express themselves, grow their communities and reach new audiences,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the launch.

Creators of Reels on Facebook also may be able to earn cash from their short-form videos. As part of Facebook’s announced plan to pay more than $1 billion to creators through the end of 2022, Facebook is offering a Reels Play bonus with payouts to eligible creators based on the performance of their Reels. The Reels Play bonus will initially be invite-only, beginning in the U.S. and potentially expanding to other countries over time, according to Facebook. It also intends to “explore” integrating Reels with the Facebook Stars livestreaming digital-gifting monetization program.

Content-creation tools for Reels on Facebook also mimic TikTok. You can search for a song from the Facebook music library to include in Reel videos, or use record your own original audio, as well as select augmented-reality effects created by Facebook or third-party developers.

Reels on Facebook lets you set a timer to record clips hands-free, as well as speed up or slow down the video while you record (to help you stay synchronized with music or make slow-motion videos). You also can stitch together multiple clips into a single Reel on Facebook (either by recording them together or selecting them from the gallery).

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