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Limit your photo and video sharing with the new Instagram Direct feature

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Photo- and video-sharing service Instagram held a New York city press event on Thursday, and the big news was a new feature for its iOS and Android apps, called Instagram Direct. The new feature limits your sharing to just the people you share with, as opposed to the entire world.

Instagram Direct was released to the App Store and Google Play on Thursday with the 5.0 version of the app. Instagram for Windows Phone remains in beta, as you are probably already aware.

Here's how it works:

When you open the new Instagram app, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed; if you tap it you will open an inbox where you will see photos and videos that others have sent "directly" to you. To share with others, once you have finished editing a photo, on the Share screen, you will see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or specific people (“Direct”).

If you choose direct, you tap the names of the people you wish to send your content to, write your caption, tap “send” and viola.

After sending, you will be able to track who has or has not viewed your content, see who has liked it, and watch recipients comment on it in real time.

Meanwhile, photos and videos that you receive from people will appear immediately if they are from people you follow. If the content is from someone you’re not currently following, it will be delivered to your requests so you can decide if you want to view it.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said:

Communication is not about photography, necessarily. "If we were about photography we'd be built into cameras, but we're not, we're built into phones. Sometimes you want to be able to share not with everyone, but just with a specific group.

To be clear, this update also adds message to Instagram for the first time. However, each conversation needs to start with a photo or video.

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