Instagram continues its attack on Snapchat with disappearing messages

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Instagram is taking another page out of Snapchat's playbook with an ephemeral redesign of its direct messaging feature.

The Facebook-owned app's 600 million monthly users can now send disappearing photos and videos alongside text and post reshares from other accounts. Like Snapchat, all photo and video messages can be replayed once before they disappear, and the sender will be notified if the viewer takes a screenshot.

Instagram first copied Snapchat's Stories format, which displays photos and videos taken by someone in chronological order for 24 hours, in August 2016. Since then, Facebook has replicated the same Stories feature in Messenger, WhatsApp, and its main mobile app.

Instagram's private messaging feature, called Direct, now has 375 million monthly users, up from 300 million in November 2016. "We want to make Direct the best place to have fun, visual conversations with your friends," Instagram said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Instagram Stories was previously broken out of the app's Direct feature, but now users will be able to send disappearing photos and videos in the same chat threads as their text conversations.

In its initial public offering prospectus from February, Snapchat said that 60% of its 158 million daily users directly message each other every day. Instagram hasn't broken out how many of its users message each other on a daily basis, but Instagram Stories reached 150 million daily users within a few months.

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