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Is Instagram trying to be TikTok?



In short, yes, but it's not that simple.


Instagram's reel feature is most definitely like TikTok; many of the videos on Instagram reels are re-posted from TikTok. However, TikTok isn't the only platform with short-form video content,and while definitely a trendsetter, social media apps always borrow ideas from each other.Instagram isn't trying to be TikTok necessarily; more so, Instagram is trying to be popular.


Instagram was first created in 2010 and has seen many changes. From ownership to logos to features, Instagram has seen many variations over the years. We all remember when Instagram first got stories in 2016, and everyone was saying that Instagram was trying to be Snapchat. The same thing is happening now. Instagram, just like every other social media platform, is trying to keep up with the latest trend, and that trend is short videos.


Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat all have short-form video content that you could say is copying TikTok. The thing is, these TikTok copycat features aren't always successful. In 2018 Meta (known as Facebook at the time) tried to launch Instagram's partner app, IGTV. The idea was to access some of its features within Instagram and then get the IGTV app to use it fully. However, at the time, TikTok wasn't as wildly popular as it is now, and those who liked the short videos that TikTok had, didn't enjoy IGTV, which led to its eventual discontinuation in 2021.


Today, TikTok is more popular than ever, and Instagram's reel feature is doing well, but not nearly as well as TikTok. Instagram reels are seen as the backup for TikTok and are often joked about as being two years behind when it comes to trends that started on TikTok. The only people who prefer to use reels regularly are people who don't have TikTok. This is because TikTok has something that Instagram doesn't, which is TikTok's algorithm.


TikTok's algorithm is regarded as the best in the business regarding social media algorithms. It predicts with astounding accuracy the type of content its users want to watch, with many users coming up with different names for the "side of TikTok" they are on. So far, no other platform has succeeded with its algorithm in truly predicting the type of content its users want to see, and that is what other social media platforms, like Instagram, want to copy.


Recently, Instagram has updated its homepage to prioritise showing you content you think you will like instead of content from the accounts you follow. While Instagram hasn't yet cracked what makes TikTok's algorithm so unique, it does a good job showing things that cater to your interests. However, this change has received a lot of backlash as users find it hard to find their friends' posts, the main thing that people use Instagram for. Instagram's haste to be like TikTok has gotten rid of what people liked about it. Seeing what your friends are up to.


Instagram has a long history of copying other platforms in its path to be successful, and I don't see this stopping anytime soon. Instagram isn't the hot new thing anymore; frankly, neither is TikTok. While I don't predict either company losing large portions of users, it is clear that there is a new player on social media platforms. That player is BeReal, an app where you post a picture once a day using both your front and back camera. BeReal's secret ingredient is the connection that users get from it. It feels more authentic than other apps, which is primarily the reason for its success. I believe that BeReal is the next platform that Instagram will try to copy once it moves from trying to be TikTok.


Instagram is out of ideas and has been for a long time. Most new features released recently are all copies of other social media platforms. Instagram needs to stop trying to be TikTok because it never will be. Instead, Instagram should focus on what made it stand out and become popular first, or it will become known as a knock-off TikTok. People like Instagram and enjoy using it,but some recent changes are not making people like it more. Yes, Instagram is trying to be TikTok, but Instagram is just trying to survive.Something it simply will not do if it continues copying other platforms and, in the process, destroying what makes it unique.


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I am a 15 year old student from Christchurch, New Zealand and my pronouns are they/she.

I am a creative, outgoing person and am always up for a challenge.

I believe that everyone should know how to use social media confidently and safely in our increasingly digital world. I am proud to be a member of the Safe on Social Youth Advisory Committee.

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