Facebook is taking another step to encourage users to create original content for its TikTok clone. The company introduced a new “sharing to Reels” feature to allow users of third-party apps to post directly to Facebook Reels.
The update allows outside developers to add a “Reels button” to their app so users can post clips directly to Reels while taking advantage of Reels’ editing tools, Facebook wrote in a blog post. Initial developers to use the feature include Smule, which makes a popular karaoke app and video editing apps Vita and VivaVideo.
The move is yet another sign of the growing importance of Reels, and how Facebook has tried to borrow from the same playbook it used with Stories. Facebook has pushed Reels into nearly every part of its service in recent months just as it once did with Stories when the company viewed Snapchat as its chief rival. Now, with Facebook losing users to TikTok, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has staked a lot on the success of Reels. He said last fall that Reels would be “as important for our products as Stories” and that reorienting its service to appeal to younger users was the company’s “North Star.”
But incentivizing users to post original content, not just ripped off TikTok clips, has been somewhat of a challenge for the company. Instagram, which has had Reels the longest, said a year ago that it would stop promoting videos with other apps’ watermarks, but the service is still filled with recycled TikToks. Adding a “Reels” button to other content creation apps is unlikely to solve that overnight, but it could help bring in some fresh, non-TikTok-created clips.