Meta is denying that it purposely muted the audio of downloaded Reels videos to keep users from exporting them to TikTok, The Verge. A company spokesperson blamed an “audio glitch” for the incident and said it’s in the process of being fixed. The outlet reported earlier this week that users who wanted to export their Reels onto another app (cough, cough ) were forced to publish the video first — or risk losing its audio. Prior to this development, Instagram users could film and edit a video using Reels’ tools and opt to download and publish it elsewhere.
Although Meta is hoping to position Reels as the of Instagram and Facebook, it has struggled to take the crown from the reigning short-form video app, TikTok. Creators and brands often cross-post Reels onto their TikTok accounts (or vice versa), meaning that Instagram and Facebook are no longer exclusive destinations for that content. TikTok gives users the ability to easily made on the platform to Facebook and Instagram Reels, but doing the reverse on the Meta-owned platforms requires the video first. Reels and TikTok have different editing tools, so it’s easy to see why a user may want to edit in one specific platform and cross-post — not to mention that it simply saves time.
Meta is still working on fixing the audio glitch on Reels as of Friday afternoon, a spokesperson told Engadget in an email. The glitch appears to only impact iPhone users. “Due to a bug, the Reels download feature is not working as intended for iOS users and in some cases, audio is missing in downloads — we’re working to fix the issue as soon as possible,” the company said in its statement.