Billed as a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram, Reels allows users to create short (up to 15 second) videos which can then be shared with friends or anyone on Instagram depending on how privacy settings are applied. Reels comes with a number of special effect tools which can be used when editing the videos. Content can be speeded up or slowed down, and audio and AR (augmented reality) effects can be added.
Reels follows the privacy settings that users already have in place on their Instagram account. If you have a private account then other users will not be able to share Reels with others who are not already following you. Not surprisingly, Reels can be integrated with Stories and a Reel can be shared in a Story where it will not be shared to Reels in Explore, will not appear on a user's profile, and will disappear after 24 hours. Users can access help and support for Reels from the Instagram Help Centre.
Reels that are shared publicly can be "featured" in Explore. Users will receive a notification if this happens.
Interestingly, Reels is part of Instagram rather than a separate app and some reports have suggested that this could potentially confuse users and cause too much clutter within the existing app. However recent media coverage of a potential ban of TikTok in the US may mean that users will be trying out other platforms. Other similar platforms include Byte, Dubsmash and Likee.
Further information is available in the Instagram post, "Introducing Instagram Reels".
Reels is available in the following European countries: Albania, Armenia, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, UK.