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21 Jun, 2023
1 min time to read

Instagram has finally joined rival app TikTok in allowing users to download and share public Reels outside of the platform.

In an Instagram broadcast, the company’s head Adam Mosseri announced that U.S.-based users will now have the option to download Reels to their camera roll. By tapping on the share icon and selecting the Download option, users can save Reels for offline viewing and share them with others.

However, there are a few restrictions. Only Reels from public accounts can be uploaded, and public account owners can choose to disable the download feature if they prefer.

While it hasn't been made clear whether uploaded videos will have a watermark, a photo shared by Mosseri suggests that uploaded videos will include the Instagram logo and account name. TikTok takes a similar approach, attaching a watermark to uploaded videos.

Instagram's decision to introduce the download feature for Reels may be a strategic move to encourage users to spend more time on the platform and consume content within the app. In 2021, Instagram stopped promoting videos with a TikTok watermark, and YouTube also added a watermark to discourage cross-platform sharing of its short video product, Shorts.

During Meta's Q1 2023 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted that AI-powered Reels recommendations contributed to a 24% increase in time spent on Instagram. By allowing users to download and share Reels, Instagram aims to further enhance engagement and keep pace with TikTok's popularity in the short video space.