Instagram is finally letting users download Reels posted by others so they can share them outside of the app. Rival short video app TikTok has had this feature for years and became popular with people watching short videos with the app’s watermark outside of the platform.
On Tuesday, the head of the company, Adam Mosseri, said on his Instagram broadcast channel that users in the US will be able to download Reels to their camera roll. Users can do this by tapping the share icon and then selecting the Download option.
Mosseri noted that roles from public accounts only are eligible for download. In addition, public accounts may disable the ability to download Reels.
While Mosseri has not specified whether there will be a watermark on the downloaded Reel, the photo he posted indicates that the downloaded video will show an Instagram logo along with the account name. TikTok uses a similar format to add a watermark to downloaded videos. In particular, Instagram has always allowed users to download their own Reels without a watermark of drafts.
In 2021 Instagram stopped promoting content with a TikTok watermark (or any other watermark) on videos. Last August, YouTube began adding a logo-based watermark to downloaded Shorts — the company’s short video product — to discourage cross-platform sharing. So this move by Instagram to let users download Reels could be a tactic to attract people to view more content on the platform.
Reels has been the focus in recent quarters to drive Meta’s growth and revenue. On his Q1 2023 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg said time spent on Instagram increased by 24% thanks to AI-powered Reels recommendations.
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