Instagram has announced Instagram Direct, a new direct messaging feature on its popular photo sharing app that will allow users to send private photo and video messages directly to designated users.
Upon updating the Instagram app, users will find a new inbox icon located in the top right corner of their home feed where they will find all photos and videos sent directly to and from their friends and followers.
To send an Instagram Direct message, users will upload photos and videos as usual, but on the share screen, there will now be two options to share it with “Followers” or “Direct.” Users will be able to see who has viewed or liked a direct photo or video and comments will display in real time, like instant messaging. If a user is sent a direct photo or video from an account they follow, it will automatically display, but if sent from an account the user is not following, the photo or video will require their approval before it will display.
Instagram Direct offers some features similar to Snapchat, which has found success as a private video and messaging service. However, unlike Snapchat, Instagram Direct photos and videos will not “self-destruct” and users can easily comment back and forth to one another. With Snapchat, users are limited to replying to vidoes and photos with another photo or video and just 80 characters of text.
Instagram Direct is available starting today, and users can get the feature by simply upgrading or downloading the Instagram app on Android and iOS.