Instagram introduces live video in Stories, self-destructing content in Direct

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Instagram on Monday launched two potentially radical changes to its photo- and video-sharing service, including support for live videos within Stories.

Live videos can last up to an hour and are triggered simply by swiping right from the main feed to bring up the camera, and then tapping "Start Live Video." Comment controls allow hosts to enable or disable comments, or pin a message so everyone can see it.

Broadcasters get a "Live" tag added to their Stories icon, and can be discovered by both followers and strangers, the latter via a "Top Live" section in Instagram's recently-launched Explore feature.

Until today, the service's video support has been limited to short clips. Parent company Facebook, however, has put a strong emphasis on going live in the past year — Instagram said that its technology will be rolling out worldwide during "the next few weeks."

People communicating via Direct, meanwhile, can now share Snapchat-like disappearing photos and videos, whether to groups or individuals. Each piece of media will vanish once the intended audience has seen it, and the app will indicate when someone has replayed a video or taken a screenshot.

Disappearing content can only be sent to existing followers, who will be able to see it in their inbox, or as part of a slideshow in the case of groups. Group users are also alerted to all the viewers involved.