Instagram Reels will suppress videos with TikTok watermarks

The Facebook-owned company says it'll make recycled content from other apps "less discoverable."

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Abrar Al-Heeti

Instagram's Reels won't make recycled content as easily discoverable.   

Angela Lang/CNET

In a Tuesday post on its Creators account, Instagram advised users not to repost content "that is visibly recycled from other apps " on Reels, its TikTok competitor. The Facebook-owned company added that seeing indicators like logos or watermarks "makes the Reels experience less satisfying," so it's making that kind of content harder to discover in the Reels tab. 

Instagram launched Reels in August as TikTok continued to dominate the short-form video space. YouTube also added a new format called Shorts in September in a bid to capitalize on the craze. 

TikTok is a tough act to catch up with, as the app has seen an exponential rise in popularity amid COVID-19 lockdownssurpassing the 2 billion global download mark early on in the pandemic. It continued to gain popularity despite the fact that the administration of former President Donald Trump last year pushed to bar downloads of TikTok, citing data privacy concerns and insisting parent ByteDance sell off TikTok's US business. ByteDance struck a preliminary deal with software company Oracle and retail giant Walmart, but the sale has reportedly been "shelved indefinitely."

Among its other recommendations, Instagram advises Reels creators to use tools like text, filters or camera effects, and to use music from the Instagram music library or original audio created or found on the platform. Users shouldn't post videos that are blurry and low-res and that are largely covered by text or have a border, the company added.