Snap Inc. has rolled out a new short form video platform called Spotlight in an effort to compete with social media giants TikTok and Facebook’s Instagram Reels.

Snap Inc's Spotlight
Image courtesy Snap Inc.

How it Works

Available in 11 countries - including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. - Spotlight is housed within the Snapchat app and enables users to create videos of up to 60 seconds that can be enlivened with music and visual effects, like Snap’s filters.

Snap said Spotlight’s content will be moderated, adding that the platform doesn’t allow for public comments. Spotlight user profiles will be private by default and snaps submitted to Spotlight must respect the company’s content guidelines to receive distribution.

Moreover, Snap is barring reuploads of videos originally posted to TikTok, indicating that it wants users to post unique content to its platform. 

Once users visit Spotlight, Snapchat’s algorithm will suggest snaps for them to watch based on what they’ve previously viewed and how long they watched those videos. Anyone can submit a snap, they just have to tap “Spotlight” when posting to ensure it populates the section.


Snap’s decision to launch Spotlight comes as TikTok continues to boom in popularity. In August, TikTok revealed it had about 100 million monthly active U.S. users, up nearly 800% percent from Jan. 2018. 

Tikok’s future in the U.S. is still uncertain since President Donald Trump signed an executive order in August requiring ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, to sell all assets that allowed it to operate TikTok in the U.S. by mid-November, citing national security concerns. Since then, the Trump administration has agreed to give ByteDance more time to reach a deal to sell the app.

Competitor Facebook already launched its response to TikTok, Instagram Reels, in August.

“Snapchatters are some of the most expressive and creative mobile storytellers in the world and Spotlight gives them an opportunity to share their creations broadly,” the company said. “With over 4 billion Snaps created each day, Spotlight empowers the Snapchat community to express themselves and reach a large audience in a new way.”

To entice users to post snaps regularly, Snap said it’ll reward the most popular creators by distributing over $1 million to Snapchatters every day through the end of 2020. Snap reported 249 million daily active users for Q3 2020, an 18% increase year-over-year.