Facebook preparing to launch a challenger to TikTok

After threatening to ban TikTok over its ties to China and fears that user data may be shared with the Chinese government, the White House has given parent company ByteDance 45 days to sell TikTok to Microsoft or be forced to leave the U.S. TikTok remains incredibly popular (especially among Millennials and Gen Z) with 30 million active users in America alone. In fact, TikTok’s influence appears to have gotten the attention of rival social apps, Snapchat and Facebook.

Snapchat has revealed that it’s currently testing out a new navigation experience that enables vertical swiping through content, which is exactly how TikTok users scroll through videos. The test focuses on Snapchat Discover, not private stories, and links horizontal swiping to exiting the experience. Meanwhile, Facebook now plans to launch Instagram Reels in the U.S. and 50 other countries in the coming weeks, according to NBC News.

Reels, which has been in development at Facebook for over a year, enables the creation of 15-second video clips that can be set to a catalog of music and shared. And like TikTok, Reels’ users can remix audio from other people’s videos, and they can enjoy stardom when their clips are selected for the “Featured Reels” section.

TikTok is unique in that it’s not used as frequently as some other social apps, but its users tend to be very engaged. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, only 10% of respondents (age 13-64) use TikTok for an hour or more per week, compared to 25% for Snapchat, 33% for Twitter and 74% for Facebook. That said, TikTok sees higher levels of both video watching (42%) and posting (30%) than any other social app. Snapchat is a close second with 39% of users watching video and 24% posting videos. The competition is now emulating TikTok, and for good reason.

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