The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app on Thursday announced Instagram Direct, a messaging feature that gives users an alternative to sharing photos and videos with all of their followers. With Instagram Direct, users can send their content to other individuals or a small number of users.
To use the feature, users must download the latest version of the Instagram app for
Users can see their message conversations by clicking on a new inbox icon that will appear at the top right corner of their home feed. Within direct conversations, users can respond to others by "liking" a photo or video they receive, commenting back with a text reply or sending a photo or video in response.
The new Instagram feature is a direct shot at Snapchat, the popular Los Angeles start-up that lets users message each other privately with photos and videos that disappear within seconds.
Facebook has twice tried to acquire Snapchat -- it reportedly offered $3 billion in the last attempt. With more and more users flocking to apps that let them message privately, rather than broadcast their lives, Snapchat and others pose a threat to Facebook. That may explain why Facebook has decided to add Instagram Direct.