Instagram knows it has a Reels problem

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Instagram’s attempt to take on TikTok has cost the platform millions of dollars, countless app updates, and a week-long firestorm involving the most famous people on the planet, mad about the direction it was going in. And so far, Instagram hasn’t caught up to the company it’s chasing.

An internal Meta document obtained by The Wall Street Journal paints the picture of Instagram struggling to court creators as Reels engagement falls. Compared to 197.8 million hours users spend on TikTok a day, Instagram users are spending 17.6 million watching Reels — less than a tenth, according to the document titled, “Creators x Reels State of the Union 2022.” The report, published in August, said Reels engagement had fallen 13.6 percent over the last…

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