Instagram Debuts Disappearing Live Video and Messages

Taking a page from Snapchat

Headshot of Marty Swant

Instagram is finally launching its own form of live video, but with a twist. 

Today, the Facebook-owned app announced it's begun rolling out live video for Instagram Stories. However, unlike on other platforms like Facebook and Periscope, once a livestream ends, the video disappears forever.

The feature—which begins rolling out today and will become available globally over the next few weeks—will let users share live video for up to an hour. Users can also notify friends that they're going live while also opting to turn comments on or off.

"Live video on Instagram Stories helps you connect with your friends and followers right now," according to a blog post announcing the update. "When you're done, your live story disappears from the app so you can feel more comfortable sharing anything, anytime."

To "go live," users can swipe right from their feed to open the camera before tapping the "Start Live Video" button. Users will also be able to see who else is livestreaming at any given time in the Explore section of the app by tapping the "Top Live" button.

Along with adding live video, Instagram is also adding disappearing photo and video messages on the platform with direct messages to friends and groups.

In yet another steal from Snapchat, the app says the update will help users share in a "spontaneous, pressure-free way." Since it updated its direct message feature last year, Instagram said the number of people using them each month has grown from 80 million to 300 million.

"You can choose a group or create one in just a few taps—and you can also send to individual friends at the same time," Instagram wrote in a blog post. "Send anything you want, from inside jokes to your worst selfies. Unlike other messages in Direct, these photos and videos disappear from your friends' inboxes after they have seen them. And you'll see if they replayed it or took a screenshot."

Disappearing photos and videos begin rolling out today.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.