Instagram introduces a new way to share your photos. Instagram Direct allows users to send photos and videos to private groups or individuals.
The idea behind this new feature is that not everyone likes to share their filtered photos to everyone. Facebook allows users to share status updates and photos to a select few, either through private messaging or through timeline.
While some may instantly dismiss the new feature as some sort of Snapchat, but it is not. Instagram Direct provides a more intimate way to share significant moments in one’s life. Your close friends and family no longer have to search through your timeline for that photo they have with you at a recent get-together.
The new feature also allows users to exchange images even without having to follow each other first, which is cool among acquiantances. Images shared through inbox can also be liked and commented, even replied with a new photo or video. You can share through Instagram Direct to up to 15 users at once, and recipients can see who you shared your photos with, so mass sexting is out of the question. (Besides, the recipient can flag your NSFW photos even if it is shared privately, so don’t risk getting banned from the service. That’s what Snapchat is for.)
If a sender is someone you do not follow on Instagram, it pops up on your inbox as a pending request, wherein you can choose to approve and view it or deny and delete the photo. Approving the request does not automatically make your account follow that user. That sender’s public photos will remain invisible in your stream and will not appear as someone you follow on Instagram.
Instagram Direct remains a mobile-only feature for now and is available on iOS and Android. You cannot access your inbox on the web, even if you use Webstagram.