Instagram Chief: TikTok Is an ‘Incredibly Formidable Competitor’

Instagram head Adam Mosseri
Steve Jennings/Getty

Adam Mosseri, who leads Facebook’s Instagram platform, says that the Chinese-owned social media network TikTok is the “most formidable competitor” the company has ever seen, as the photo-sharing service makes changes in an attempt to better compete with the new Chinese platform.

“TikTok is an incredibly formidable competitor, probably the most formidable competitor we’ve ever seen,” said Instagram chief Adam Mosseri in an interview with CNBC.

“They are very focused, they’re determined, they execute incredibly well,” continued Mosseri. “This is a company that cloned Musical.ly, grew so much that they actually could afford to buy the thing they cloned, and — willed this short-form entertaining video content or format into existence, and they deserve a lot of credit for that.”

“This is us trying to playing catch-up in a lot of ways, build out a suite of features for creators to inspire them to use our platform more, because without compelling content there’s no reason to go to Reels in the first place,” added the Instagram chief.

In order to counter that competition, Instagram has decided to merge two of its features — online shopping and its new Reels short-form video feature, which competes with TikTok.

Sellers and promoters can now tag products when they’re creating an Instagram Reels video, and consumers can tap “view products” to either buy the items immediately or set them aside for later purchase.

The hope is that merging the two features will make Reels more engaging to consumers and more appealing to creators.

“It’s important to us that we create meaningful ways for creators to make a living on Instagram, because otherwise they’re going to go to the competition,” said Mosseri.

“So it’s actually primarily interested in helping them better make a living, but also because we think that an important part of the future of shopping is shopping through the eyes of people that you look up to,” he added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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