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The Thread: Will Beauty Embrace Instagram Reels?

How Reels came to be is reminiscent of Instagram Stories, which bowed as Facebook's answer to competitor app Snapchat.

The great social media shakeup of 2020 is here.

TikTok has become ubiquitous — much like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat before it — and until now, the ByteDance-owned video-sharing application has gone unchallenged. President Trump has identified the app as a national security threat, and Microsoft is eyeing it for potential acquisition.

It is good timing, then, that Facebook, whose chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg appeared virtually at a congressional hearing on July 29, released its TikTok copy.

On Aug. 5, Facebook unveiled Instagram Reels. For months prior, TikTok users had flooded Instagram with uploads from the competitor app. But the launch of Reels seems to be an assertion of Facebook’s desire to remain all-powerful and, presumably, continue to find new ways of collecting advertising dollars.

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Beauty influencers such as Patrick Starrr, Camila Coelho, Bretman Rock and Huda Beauty have all made use of Instagram Reels, though the feature’s video-editing capabilities have been critiqued as inferior to those of TikTok.

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How Reels came to be is reminiscent of Instagram Stories, which bowed as Facebook’s answer to competitor app Snapchat. When Instagram Stories first launched, it, too, was critiqued for having filters deemed inferior to those within Snapchat’s app. Since then, Stories has become ingrained as a key feature of Instagram. Whether Reels will, too, remains to be seen.

Also making waves on Instagram is an account called @glowgraphs, which shares graphs on skin-care data.

“I did a post about what people are saying about Fenty Skin. That post blew up,” said the account creator, who spoke to Beauty Inc on the condition of anonymity.

They are no stranger to data — hence the graphs, which aggregate numbers from Nielsen, Google Trends and Twitter.

“I’m a social science Ph.D. student, and I do a lot of quantitative work with data and methodology. I’ve taken a lot of statistics courses, and I make a lot of graphs when I do research,” the founder said.

Their involvement in the industry is only as an enthusiast pursuing a pastime.

“It’s a fun hobby for me,” they said. “I haven’t set it up in a way that would be monetized. I started it because I was bored.”

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