Instagram borrows from Facebook and Snapchat with two new updates

Mohammad Kanchwala
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Sending a self destructing selfie to a friend or friends, who can view it  once and you will be notified if they take a screenshot or replay it. Sound familiar? It is one of the two new features being introduced by Instagram this week.

The platform that is home to more than 500 million visual storytellers continues its tussle with their permanent rival in the ephemeral picture sharing department, Snapchat. Instagram Stories boasts of more than 100 million daily active users, which is more than half of Snapchat's hard earned figure of 150 million daily active users.

Now, the update at hand. 

In an official blog post, the company announced two new changes that borrows some from its parent company, some from its competitor and there may be a hint of innovation too. No there isn't.


The first one as we spoke about, brings self destructing pictures and videos to Instagram Direct Messages, which wasn’t available earlier. It is an upgrade to Instagram Stories, a Snapchat clone (Yes we know that you know). Snapchat already offered both the capabilities, of uploading Stories that all your followers can see and of sending it to individuals.

Instagram is taking the cloning process one step at a time, apparently.

Over 300 million people from all over the world use Instagram’s Direct Messaging service according to the company. Now with the inclusion of ephemeral pictures into Direct Messages, one can expect this number to shoot up significantly.

You can send a self destructing picture or video to a friend or multiple friends by recording it as you usually do. Then by clicking on the paper plane icon on the top right of the screen you can select the people you want to send it to.

Also, the image or video will self destruct, meaning disappear from the Direct Messages history and should they choose to replay it or take a screenshot, you will be notified. Rings a bell right?

All right, so the second new introduction from Instagram borrows heavily from their parent, Facebook’s wildly successful, Facebook Live functionality infused with ephemerality.

Live Video is officially coming to Instagram and here is how it works.

Simply tapping on the Start Live Video button enables you to share a Live Video for upto an hour. It will notify your followers on Instagram that you are Live Now, and will display likes and comments in real time on the bottom of the screen, just like Facebook Live.


If any of your friends on Instagram are Live, their profile picture will be display a ‘Live’ tag.

It differs from Facebook Live in the matter of ephemerality. As soon as you turn off the Live Video, it will disappear from sight. No traces of it. Literally.


You can also turn off comments altogether, and your friends can like the video endlessly if they choose to do so.

Instagram users can expect to receive an update in the next few weeks and begin to contemplate which platform to offer your loyalty to. As Snapchat and Instagram grow to be more and more alike with each update, users are finding it difficult to understand this hodge podge of cloned, borrowed or ‘inspired’ features.

Let's see how far this update takes Instagram.

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