Facebook planning TikTok competitor 'Instagram Reels'

NEW YORK -- Facebook is planning to launch a short-form video feature on Instagram in early August, increasing competition with TikTok, according to reports.

Developers are joining the race to create a quality TikTok alternative, TechCrunch reported, as U.S. officials consider a ban on the app and influencers leave the platform due to security concerns.

The outlet reported that Facebook, which has more than 2.5 billion uses worldwide, launched Reels in Brazil in November, in France and Germany last month and in India last week after the country banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese-owned apps amid tensions between the two countries.

“The community in our test countries has shown so much creativity in short-form video, and we’ve heard from creators and people around the world that they’re eager to get started as well,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Reels will launch in the U.S. and more than 50 other countries, NBC News reported.

Facebook did not immediately respond to an inquiry from FOX Business.

Instagram Reels, like TikTok, will showcase 15-second-long videos that users can set to music or remixed audio from other users' videos and will provide users with tools allowing them to edit the content.

Researchers have noted flaws in TikTok's code that make the app less secure than other social media apps, though the company has been making regular updates and hiring more U.S.-based privacy and policy experts in an effort to improve the user experience.

U.S. officials are also concerned about the app's connection to the Chinese Communist Party because its parent company, ByteDance, is a Chinese-owned firm. Under a 2017 Chinese national security law, all Chinese-owned companies must comply with intelligence requests from the CCP, and Congress is concerned that American citizens' information is at risk of being compromised.

Despite these concerns, TikTok remains one of the most popular social media apps in the U.S. with more than 30 million American users. The company has nearly tripled its U.S. workforce in the last year.