Social Media

Instagram is adding live video and Snapchat-style disappearing messages

Kurt Wagner
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about Instagram during a press event at Facebook headquarters.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Instagram is adding a couple new features you may be familiar with.

The photo and video app rolled out live video broadcasting on Monday so you can stream directly from your phone, and also added Snapchat-style disappearing private messages.

The broadcasting element has been a major focus this year for Facebook, Instagram's parent company, so it's not a total surprise to see the technology migrate over. Instagram is taking a slightly different approach, though: You'll only be able to watch a broadcast while it's actually live. Once the broadcast ends, it won't be available.

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Instagram product boss Kevin Weil says the point is to make make Instagram broadcasting more about person-to-person interactions, not just a TV alternative.

"It's a bi-directional experience, and you only get that when you're actually live with someone," Weil told Recode. "If you watch it later, you're kind of doing the whole thing through a glass window."

Instagram, unlike Facebook, will not pay brands or celebrities to use its live product, Weil added.

The messaging update is also easy to understand from a competitive standpoint. Instagram is competing for user time with Snapchat. In order to keep people inside of the Instagram app, it's been replicating Snapchat's core features, like Stories. Now it's adding disappearing messages.

"We want Instagram to be a place where you share all of your moments," Weil said. "[That includes] the more private moments or the inside jokes that are relevant not for your entire Instagram following but for a smaller group of folks."

In other words: We realized people were using other products (see: Snapchat) to share these kinds of moments, so we decided to build the feature inside our app instead.

Why not!

The new messaging option will be available starting Monday. Live video will be viewable by anyone starting Monday, but the ability to actually broadcast will roll out to people over the coming months.


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