Instagram is rolling out two big new features today: the ability to broadcast live video and a change to direct messages that will allow users to send disappearing photos and videos privately among friends. The new features further puts the service in direct competition with Snapchat, while also going against Periscope and Facebook’s own live broadcasting functionality.
Unlike Facebook Live and Periscope, Instagram’s live video feature is completely ephemeral: there is no option to replay a broadcast, so as soon as the video ends it disappears. This is by design. Periscopes initially were deleted after 24 hours too but the service added permanent replays eventually.
To feature is rolling out slowly so it’s not available to all yet. To start a broadcast, just launch the Instagram Stories camera, swipe over to the live tab and click the start Live video. Viewers can comment or tap repeatedly to add hearts, while broadcasters can add comments too and pin a particular comment the top of the reel. They also have controls to hide comments and block or report anyone who harasses them.
Meanwhile, the update to Instagram Direct is essentially allows users share Stories-like updates while retaining more control over their audience. It’s much like how you can send Snapchat Stories as private messages, but in addition to 1-to-1 messaging Instagram adds in a groups feature. It will also remember your groups so you can send further updates more easily.
Recipients can watch the messages once, and replay them once, but then they’re gone. Like Snapchat, Instagram will notify you if someone takes a screenshot.
The revamped Instagram direct should be available to all users within the next day or so.