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Instagram rolls out private image sharing

Instagram Direct lets users send private photo messages to selected individuals rather than sharing them with all followers.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Lexy Savvides

Instagram users can now send photo and video messages to selected connections privately.

(Credit: Instagram)

Instagram Direct was announced at a launch in New York on Thursday by CEO Kevin Systrom. "If we were about photography, we'd be built into cameras," he said. "But, we're not built into cameras. We're built into phones."

The app now has a new icon in the top right of the home feed which opens up the private messaging inbox. When posting a photo or video, users now have the option to post to their followers or to specific people from the share screen. Photos and videos can only be received from people you follow, otherwise it will go to to the requests area.

You can send photos and videos to up to 15 users at a time, and just like Facebook, users will be able to see when recipients have seen a message.

Instagram Direct is now available by updating the app for iOS and Android. The Windows Phone app is still in beta, with Instagram telling users to stay tuned for updates.

At the New York event, Systrom also revealed that Instagram is used daily by more than half of its 150 million active users.