Instagram launches disappearing messages

The photo and video-sharing app is introducing a mysterious new offering. Here are details—and how it mirrors a competitor’s core function.

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Does the concept of sending an image on social media, then seeing it disappear sound familiar?

Snapchat made its mark by allowing users to send private messages that would disappear after the receiver viewed them. It’s the platform’s core function. Now, Instagram has introduced a feature that allows its users to send private messages that disappear after the receiver views them.

The move comes just a few months after Instagram added another feature that Snapchat pioneered: Stories. That feature allows users to post a series of photos and videos that are separate from their main Instagram feed.

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