TikTok is giving users the option to film and share up to three minutes of video — much more time than its original 60-second limit — in a move it says will allow for better storytelling and more entertainment. The announcement comes after the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said last week that Instagram will start showing recommended, full-screen videos on users’ feeds alongside photos and videos from people they know. Instagram, already shows recommended photos in feeds, and the platform allows for both 15- and 30-second video reels as well as longer live videos, which can last up to four hours but which viewers must watch in real time.
For the hundreds of millions of users on Instagram and TikTok, longer and more frequent videos mean more time watching, but also potentially more ads and sponsored content that you may not want to sit through. On Instagram, you may also have less control over what you see in your feed — plenty of the videos you’re served will be from accounts you don’t follow. And longer TikTok videos may change the rapid-fire rhythm the app became known for.
The moves are reflective of large social media companies adding and emulating features that have become popular with consumers and worked well for their competitors. With the changes, Instagram will look more like TikTok, and TikTok more like YouTube. Instagram already took steps to add favorite features from other platforms when it debuted Snapchat-like stories in 2016. Twitter and Facebook both rolled out audio chat rooms this year after audio app Clubhouse became popular during the pandemic.
As for Instagram, Mosseri said the move to expand video formats on the platform was because he no longer viewed Instagram as a square photo-sharing app. He said that competition from TikTok and YouTube is fueling the increased focus on video.