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Instagram launches direct messaging feature

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NEW YORK (AP) - Instagram is launching a new feature that lets users share photos and videos with up to 15 people rather than everyone who follows them on the popular photo-sharing app.

Called Instagram Direct, the feature will be available Thursday for Apple and Android phones, CEO Kevin Systrom said at a press event in New York City. Users can choose up to 15 of the people who follow them on Instagram to share photos or videos with.

Previously, the only way to share content on Instagram was to post it to your feed, which can be either visible to everyone or locked so only people you approve can see it.

The new tool comes as popularity of messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp is soaring.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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