NBC News reported this morning that Facebook is getting ready to launch what could be the next biggest competitor to the widely popular app, Tik Tok, across over 50 countries in the world over the coming weeks. Instagram Reels seems basically to be a knockoff of Tik Tok containing all the same functionalities. This of course is coming on the heels of Tik Tok’s wide array of scrutiny and doubt about how they are farming user’s data and the potential of giving access of that data to the Chinese Communist Party.
Tik Tok has been followed under a microscope recently, as India even banned citizens of using the app in the country. Prominent Senators in the United States, like Josh Hawley, are extremely skeptical of the app, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and believe they should be subject to an investigation and possible ban as well.
Facebook/Instagram’s timing of this launch, after having beta testing in various country’s, seems almost too good to be true. Once teenagers and other influencers realize that their primary source of content and even revenue is gone, they will have to flee and find a new social media app. That is where Instagram Reels will step in and pick up the lost souls.
Mark Zuckerberg is obviously a genius of a businessman but I can only think that any app that harnesses user’s attention and data like Tik Tok will be looked at extremely closely by regulators. As if Facebook isn’t already a topic for data privacy conversation, this will just further extend the grasp they have society in, and continue to amp up whispers of more regulation and even potential anti-trust laws.
It will also be difficult to get ahold of that marketshare of people who will probably soon be forced to leave Tik Tok. That’s a lot of teenagers looking to dance. Facebook will have to convince people that their app is the same, if not better, experience in a way that cannot simply be about data safety. Young kids don’t care for/understand how valuable their data and privacy is. And if Tik Tok isn’t banned as a result of an investigation, then will Instagram Reels be just like Instagram TV sitting on the dock of the Instagram parent app? Of course are risks associated with the launch of this app, but at the same time what does Zuckerberg really have to lose?
Personally, it seems like the banning of the ByteDance app is only a matter of time. I think that as the Trade, and Cold, War vs. China continues to escalate we will see acts taken by both governments to try and stifle the economic and technological growths of the other. So, an app like Tik Tok will for sure be the next domino to fall and we could see further restrictions to foreign apps of all countries in the future. We all remember the Face-Aging app and Russia scandal just last year.
The other big risk for Facebook/Instagram in my opinion is this growing concern for an anti-trust case against the tech giant. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are all the modern day Railroad and Oil monopolies that we see in our daily lives. Obviously they are going to continue to try and get bigger and as that happens then the calls for break ups will continue to grow, as if they haven’t already. It’s just glaring to see the performance of these companies, even during a pandemic, and how they are able to influence society in almost any way imaginable.
Capitalism is a core pillar of our country and there is no way that it should be destroyed. It has lifted more people out of poverty than any economic system ever created or thought of. I just also know that there are anti-trust laws in the United States and sometime it could be possible that a President tries to enforce them. Tech industry giants has been looked into as a potential suitor for a case and it could only be a matter of time before someone pursues it.
I am waiting for Tik Tok to be banned. I still haven’t removed the official app from my phone yet but I don’t open it hardly ever. If China is still spying on me somehow through a closed app then please let me know and I will remove it ASAP. As of now I am just too lazy and waiting to be told to do it.
It will be interesting to see the dynamic that Instagram Reels holds vs. the one that Tik Tok very organically created.