Welcome to the new era of Instagram, as it shifts even further into an all-Reels, all-the-time machine to keep users’ short attention spans inside its app instead of TikTok. Other than incentivizing users to create Reels with easier templates to let you react to content and a new Dual feature that records using the front and back camera simultaneously, it has one more shortcut to a wealth of new Reels content: pretty much any video you post on Instagram.
Is your account public, and did you post a video under 90 seconds? Into the Reels suggestion algorithm it goes, playing to whoever Instagram thinks will find it interesting, and it will be fully available for them to Remix and add their own spin to using the built-in content tools.
If you go to post a new video on Instagram, you’ll get this splash screen noting the change.
I wonder if it may surprise any users who have been on Instagram for a while without diving into Reels or treat their content very differently than they would on, say, a public TikTok account. This also applies to Photos in its own way because “[i]n the coming weeks, you will be able to remix public photos.” And on your profile, now videos and Reels are combined under one button.
The Instagram Help Center describes how things work now:
For public accounts: Anyone on Instagram can remix your reels and feed videos shared after remixing became available.
If you have a public account, you can turn off remixing for reels, feed videos or both without changing your account’s privacy settings. You can also turn remixing off for individual videos
There are a few exceptions to this, like videos posted before things changed today and videos that are longer than 15 minutes. The blog post also indicated that currently, only videos under 90 seconds in length will be eligible for the Discovery and recommendation system.
The changes are also coming into play just as Facebook breaks up its main feed — changing the algorithm to work more like TikTok does, just as The Verge reported last month — with the default option pulling in more recommended content, including Reels. It needs something to show people that’s more than just reposted TikTok videos, and your quirky Instagram video posts are one way to get it.