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Instagram Direct messages just became more like Snapchat

Now you can send disappearing photos and videos through Instagram's DMs, which sounds kinda familiar...

Oscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Instagram took another page from the Snapchat playbook on Tuesday when it announced that it's bringing disappearing photos and videos to its messaging platform, Instagram Direct.

That means you can now send photo and video messages in addition to text. What's more, these visual messages are only visible for a short amount of time before your contact can't access them anymore. It's very similar to Snapchat, where you can see a photo or video message for several seconds before it vanishes forever.

Click on the new camera icon to send disappearing posts.


This isn't the first time Instagram has followed Snapchat's lead. Last August it introduced Instagram Stories, a multipic- and video-sharing feature very similar to Snapchat Stories that expires after a day. Instagram, which counts 375 million users on its messaging platform, is clearly ramping up direct competition with Snapchat.

People with the updated Instagram app will see a camera icon at the bottom of their Direct inbox, as well as next to current conversations (swipe left). Clicking the camera will let you take pictures or videos you can annotate with stickers or text and then send to your friends.

Once you send a photo or video message, you'll be able to check when it was delivered and opened. Your disappearing message can only be replayed once and you'll be notified if someone takes a screenshot of it. (Regular texts, uploads and reshares are untouched.)

The new feature is currently available for iOS and Android with the Instagram 10.16 update.