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Instagram announces direct messaging feature

Instagram on Thursday announced a direct messaging service that lets users share photos and videos with individual users. The company’s co-founder Kevin Systrom unveiled the new feature at an event in New York City.

Instagram Direct works by letting user take a photo or video and select if it will be shared with all followers or up to 15 select users.

Photos and videos can only be sent to followers, but unknown users can also attempt to send messages. A new pending request feature lets users screen photos or videos.

Once a photo or video is shared with a group of users, they can like or comment on posts. Systrom adds that people can reply to the same group of people with a photo or video.

Instagram users won’t have the option to share their posts with both followers and direct messages. However, Systrom says users have the option to repost photos and videos from a smartphone camera roll, similar to what is popularly called “regrams.”

When asked if Instagram plans to monetize its new messaging feature like its regular feed, Systrom said it was “way too early to talk about ads on Instgram Direct.”

Instagram Direct is available at Apple’s App Store and Google Play now.

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