- Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth surpassed $100 billion for the first time ever on Thursday.
- One day earlier, Facebook launched its TikTok competitor – Instagram Reels.
- As Trump piles pressure on TikTok, Reels has the perfect opportunity to take over the U.S. market.
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has joined Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates as the world’s only centibillionaires. His net worth hit the $100 billion level on Thursday after FB shares closed at record highs.
Zuckerberg’s stake in Facebook is about 13%, and the social media giant’s market cap is more than three-quarters of the way to $1 trillion.
I hope Zuckerberg remembers to send President Donald Trump a thank-you card.
Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s third-richest person – and just the third member of the centibillionaire club. | Source: Bloomberg
Facebook stock’s record high coincided with renewed investor optimism following the rollout of TikTok clone Instagram Reels.
A day after Instagram Reels launched, Trump signed an executive order indicating TikTok will be banned in the U.S. if it doesn’t get an American buyer. | Source: @tiktok_us/Twitter
That launch has received support from an unlikely source: Donald Trump.
The timing of the president’s attack on Chinese tech companies like ByteDance – the owner of TikTok – helped shine the spotlight on Reels.
And as Trump threatens to ban TikTok altogether, he’s giving Reels the perfect opportunity to swoop in and steal market share.
Trump ban makes it easier for Instagram Reels to poach TikTok talent
From the start, Facebook recognized it needed to poach popular content creators to lure users to Reels. That’s why it offered hundreds of thousands of dollars to TikTok talent willing to sign exclusive deals.
I was skeptical TikTok creators would so willingly jump ship, but Trump’s threats – and especially Thursday’s executive order giving ByteDance a 45-day ultimatum – likely change the calculus.
Video: Trump’s TikTok ban will make it a lot easier for Reels to lure top creators
TikTok’s future in the U.S. is suddenly uncertain, making a migration to Reels less risky than before. And if TikTok does get banned, it’s a lot more likely the app’s rank-and-file users will move too.
Mark Zuckerberg knows Trump’s demonization of China can be a powerful cudgel – if aimed correctly. He seized on Trump’s biases by playing the patriotism card during a recent congressional antitrust hearing.
Facebook has made a conscious effort to set itself apart from TikTok. | Source: @supchinanews/Twitter
Facebook’s TikTok clone could not have launched at a more perfect time
The Instagram Reels launch could not have been timed more perfectly. A happy accident or not, it coincided with the worst week in TikTok’s history.
TikTok has been a trending news item for much of August, which is generating generous free publicity for Instagram’s new feature.
Virtually every article chronicling TikTok’s woes mentions Reels. Had the feature been launched at a different time, such copious amounts of free media would not have been forthcoming.
While it’s far too early to measure Reels’ success, it’s almost a given it will fare better than Lasso – another TikTok clone Facebook shuttered this year.
Video: Facebook exiles Lasso to its product graveyard
When history is written, it’s likely Lasso’s failure compared to Reels will be blamed on timing. Or the fact that Lasso was a standalone app.
In reality, Reels may have turned out to be just as colossal a failure if not for one crucial factor: Donald Trump.
Disclaimer: This article represents the author’s opinion and should not be considered investment or trading advice from CCN.com. Unless otherwise noted, the author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.