Zixuan Wang

Mar 27

2 min read

TikTok subtle copyright feud with Instagram

Instagram and TikTok are direct competitors for their Reels and TikTok video feature, but instead of fighting it out in court, these tech giants have figured out a way to subtly compete with each other with updates to their respective platform.


TikTok videos are watched without a toggling TikTok logo. However, upon exporting TikTok videos, the TikTok logo oscillates between the two positions to make it difficult for anyone to use the video without crediting TikTok and the creator.

 

One example of this is when an exported video is uploaded on other platforms such as Instagram.

Instagram’s “Reel” feature mimics the style of TikTok videos. It seems as if Instagram has purposely designed their interface to obscure / hide the TikTok logo as much as possible.

 

This obscurity reduces user engagement, similar to how low resolution videos are displeasing to the eye and hence less engaging. It is clear that Instagram has implemented this design to purposely discredit recycled TikTok videos.

 

Subtly lowering the reach and engagement of imported TikTok videos incentivises users to create on Instagram by default, and then importing it into TikTok.

 

Creators are starting to choose to create videos on Instagram first and then post onto TikTok, since videos recorded using Instagram do not have an Instagram logo on them. However, videos created on TikTok have a logo on them and have lower reach when reposted on Instagram. This strategy has helped Reels become a more prominently used platform for video creation.

 

It is also a known that Instagram are now actively using algorithms to further reduce the engagement of reposted TikTok videos.

TikTok responds to the obscuring of their logo by moving the bottom most logo position upwards.

 

Instagram responds by updating their features to mimic the original TikTok “for you” page design to yet again obscure the logo.

 

These new platform updates shows how companies like Instagram and TikTok are choosing to innovate to get ahead of their competition.

 

Written by Zixuan Wang (Partner at Kommit Techno-Legal LLP)