updated 10:51 am EST, Thu December 12, 2013
New feature available on mobile apps
Instagram has introduced a new feature, Instagram Direct, that enables users to privately share messages, photos and videos. The announcement marks a shift from the company's previous system, which was designed solely for public sharing. Users can now choose to send content to another individual or groups of up to 15 people.
The new features have been added to the existing Instagram interface, placing all incoming content into a dedicated inbox. Content from known users automatically appears, while messages from unknown users are shown as pending requests.
To share photos and videos, the top of the share screen now includes separate buttons for "Followers" or "Direct." Using the latter option brings up a list of followers that can be tapped and added to the recipient list.
The new features are immediately available on the Instagram 5.0 apps for iOS and Android.