Instagram's Latest Move: Downloading Public Reels Now Available

  • Adam Mitchell
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Instagram's Latest Move: Downloading Public Reels Now Available

Instagram has finally caught up to its chief competitor, TikTok, by enabling users to download public Reels for sharing outside the app. The Facebook-owned platform announced the update on Tuesday, much to the delight of Instagram's vast user base. As downloading and sharing Reels on other platforms becomes more accessible, it could significantly affect the platform's overall growth and increased content consumption.

This long-awaited feature was unveiled by Instagram's head Adam Mosseri on his broadcast channel, stating that users in the United States would now be able to save Reels directly to their camera roll. To do this, users simply need to tap the share icon and select the Download option. While Mosseri refrained from mentioning watermark specifics, the image he posted featuring a downloaded Reel suggests that it will bear both the Instagram logo and the account name. This watermark format mimics TikTok's and discourages cross-platform sharing, a strategy also employed by YouTube for its Shorts product.

Interestingly, downloading Reels without watermarks isn't entirely new to Instagram, as the platform has always allowed users to save their own Reels sans watermarks from their drafts. However, until now, Instagram has not extended this feature to other users' Reels. The lack of this feature is likely holding back Instagram's Reels growth, limiting its impact on other platforms, unlike TikTok, which has gained widespread popularity by having users watch short videos with the application's watermark outside the platform.

Instagram's decision to implement this feature now is particularly noteworthy, as, in 2021, the platform ceased promoting content with TikTok watermarks or any other watermark for that matter on videos. This move underscores a change in strategy as Instagram seeks to encourage its users to consume and share more video content from within its ecosystem. By allowing public Reels to be downloaded and shared elsewhere, the platform is banking on creators' increased visibility, leading to further growth and revenue for Meta, Instagram's parent company.

In conclusion, Instagram's move to facilitate the downloading of public Reels could have significant implications for its global growth and competitiveness against rivals like TikTok. Users' newfound ability to download, share, and consume video content from Instagram may result in increased consumption and engagement on the platform. Moreover, by allowing Reels to be shared outside the app, Meta is investing in its creators' success and overall content visibility, a decision that could strengthen Instagram's position in the social media landscape for years to come.