Reels is an in-app editing tool for creating 15-second videos synced to music or another type of audio. The new feature also allows users to choose an audio clip to use with the video.
You can also add effects, speed up or slow down a video, align multiple clips, and use a timer and a countdown to record hands-free.
You can discover other people’s Reels in Instagram’s “Explore” tab and in Instagram Stories, or, if you have a private account, you can share Reels with your followers directly in your feed. Just like Instagram Stories, private Reels will disappear after 24 hours.
Aside from the U.S., Reels is also available in France, Germany, the U.K., Australia, Mexico, and other countries. The feature originally launched in Brazil in November, but its release in the U.S. comes at an interesting time, as President Donald Trump is threatening to ban rival TikTok over privacy concerns and its Chinese origins.
India banned TikTok in June over similar concerns with the app, but Instagram Reels could be the country’s answer to the ban since the new feature goes live to Instagram users in India starting Wednesday.
Reels is not parent company Facebook’s first shot at grabbing some of TikTok’s growth. Lasso was a video-sharing iOS app that had an emphasis on short videos, just like TikTok. The app merged with Musical.ly to add audio to videos, but it has been shut down since July 8.