TikTok has enjoyed a significant advantage over Instagram Reels in that anyone can download a TikTok video and post it to another social media network — something that helps draw new users to the platform. Now, Instagram has finally gained that ability, according to a post by CEO Adam Mosseri (using the new broadcast channels feature) spotted by TechCrunch.
The feature is only available to US users on mobile for now, and only for public and not private accounts. At the same time, users with public accounts can choose a setting that blocks users from downloading their Reels. To use the feature, you tap on the "Share" icon for a given Reel and select "Download."
An image posted by Mosseri (top) appears to show that downloaded Reels will be watermarked with the Instagram logo and name of the account, much as TikTok does. YouTube also started adding watermarks to Shorts videos created on desktop, likely also as a way to bring attention to its short video feature.
Instagram now appears to be taking the same tack, likely also seeing it as a way to ensure people see Reels on other social media networks. It's not going out of its way to accommodate videos from rival platforms, though. The Meta-owned company allows TikTok and other videos to be uploaded, but its algorithms stopped promoting any watermarked videos from rivals back in 2021.