Instagram Mimics Snapchat and Periscope with New Features

Facebook’s Instagram just debuted two new features for live streaming video and ephemeral messaging, both of which reflect the popularity of such features in Snap’s Snapchat and Twitter’s live-streaming Periscope. By doing so, Instagram has heated up its competition with Snapchat and now competes more directly with Periscope. Instagram, which will roll out the new video features to a small group before a wider launch, also recently introduced Instagram Stories, which apes Snapchat Stories. 

The New York Times reports that Instagram head of product Kevin Weil says the new features “would encourage people to use Instagram for more than the selected, highly polished feeds for which it is known.”

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“We want Instagram to be a place where you can share all of your moments, to create a pressure-free space to do so,” he said. With the new live video feature, Instagram users can “broadcast live video to their followers through the Stories section of the app” and, similar to Periscope, “friends and followers watching Instagram live videos can comment and send cartoon hearts to the broadcaster during the stream.”

The live videos are ephemeral, explains Weil, to remove “added pressure” and let users “express themselves more fully.” All Instagram users will also be able to avail themselves of disappearing photos and videos within the private messaging tool, a feature “made famous by Snapchat.”

“The format is definitely something that Snapchat innovated on,” said Weil. “But it’s just like how hashtags started on Twitter and are used everywhere. I think this particular format is one that we will see adopted everywhere else.”