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Instagram launches Instagram Direct

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Popular photo-sharing social medium, Instagram, launched its new feature, Instagram Direct, today, Thursday, Dec. 12. The new feature will allow Instagram users to send pictures to specific groups of people; as opposed to sharing it to their entire audience.

The move is likely a response to the recent emergence of direct-photo sharing app, Snapchat, which has risen in popularity among teenage users. A usage demographic that has been drastically dropping in Instagram's parent company, Facebook.

Earlier this year, Snapchat turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook, effectively forcing the social media giant to come up with a response to the chat messaging service on their own. And it appears that Instagram Direct is that response.

Instagram's official reasoning for launching Instagram Direct, though, is for allowing users the opportunity to use Instagram to share the more personal moments in their lives.

"There are, however, moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people—an inside joke between friends captured on the go, a special family moment or even just one more photo of your new puppy. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments," wrote Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, on the company's official blog.

If you already own the Instagram app, a new update will be available today that loads Instagram Direct onto the app. Once updated, users will find a new inbox feature that allows one to view direct messages sent to them, and a "direct send" option after their photo uploads that will allow them to send their photos to specific users.

There is also an option to send a direct message in the Instagram Direct inbox, as well.

If the early social media response is any indication of the new app's success, it appears that Facebook and Instagram may have scored a hit with their new Instagram Direct feature.

So, for now, it appears it is "game on", Snapchat.

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