Facebook and Instagram’s apps have both been modified by Meta to more closely resemble TikTok, its main rival. The modifications seem to indicate the degree of the existential threat TikTok poses to Meta.
On Thursday, Instagram stated that going forward, every video that is shorter than 15 minutes will be turned into a Reel. If such video is posted by a public account, the company’s recommendation algorithms will also automatically use it to show it to other accounts.
Reels, which Instagram introduced in the US in 2020, was widely perceived as a copy of TikTok’s short-form video format.
For its iOS and Android apps, Facebook is dividing its traditional News Feed. Users will be immediately directed to the “Home” page, where the company’s “discovery engine” will highlight items it believes the user will find interesting, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
By navigating to the new “Feeds” page from the Home tab, Facebook users will be able to view postings from their friends and Pages that they have followed in chronological order.
In February, according to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg told Meta workers that Tiktok presents a “unprecedented degree of competition” for the company.
According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg stated during a company-wide conference that “people have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time” and that “apps like TikTok are growing extremely quickly.”
For the first time ever, Facebook’s user base declined in the fourth quarter of 2021.
In the meanwhile, a November 2021 investigation by Insider Intelligence found that TikTok has more Gen Z users on a monthly basis than both Facebook and Instagram combined. Although still considerably smaller than Meta’s own advertising empire, its advertising revenue is flourishing and has already surpassed both Twitter and Snapchat combined.