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Now You Can Post Live Video On Instagram

Once you stop recording, the live video is gone for good. *Poof*

Posted on November 21, 2016, at 10:01 a.m. ET

Instagram is the latest social platform to embrace live video, following Twitter, YouTube, and its parent company, Facebook. It's an attempt to make Instagram a place for both permanent and ephemeral sharing.

This is Instagram's latest attempt to drive more kinds of usage — beyond just posting highly-curated photos — by introducing features that focus on what’s happening in the moment. Live video is the second video product Instagram has launched this year. Stories, a string of Snapchat-style photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, was announced in August.

It's also something Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has previously hinted at. Earlier this month, Systrom told the Financial Times, “If I’m trying to strengthen relationships with someone I love, them streaming video to me live would be an amazing way to be closer to them.”

Last month, in an interview with BuzzFeed News, Systrom said, “I agree, the video format in our viewer does feel similar to what a lot of other people are doing. I think that’s fine for now, but it’s not where we want to end up. We want to innovate and improve the experience.”

Here’s how live video on Instagram works.

To go live, swipe right from the main feed to access the Stories camera.


There is now a new “Live” option down at the bottom, to the left of “Normal” and the recently-added “Boomerang” feature. Once you select “Live,” Instagram will check your connection and count you down before starting the video.

The time limit on live videos is one hour, which is the same as Facebook Live. Periscope does not limit broadcasting to a certain time, though you do need to work within your battery and data constraints.

Once you’re live, you’ll see a feed of comments on the bottom left and, as you would on Facebook or Twitter’s Periscope, a stream of hearts from viewers. While you stream live, you can reply to comments, pin comments you like, report abusive comments, see who’s viewing the stream, and hide certain users from viewing the rest of your stream. You can pinch to zoom in or out, but you can’t add drawings or text like you can in Stories.

Instagram won’t generate a link to your live video that you can share to other platforms like Twitter or Facebook.


Live video will only live in the moment and on Instagram. The app will only notify the subset of users who have opted in to notifications when you post. Those users will get a pop-up that says, ”[Username] has started a live video. Watch it before it ends!” Everyone else will see a small “LIVE” badge over your avatar in the Stories carousel at the top of their feed.

Once you’re done streaming, the video is completely hidden from view. Unlike on Facebook, live video on Instagram isn’t saved and can’t be watched retroactively. However, to prevent abuse, if it’s reported by another user, Instagram’s operations team will review the footage after it has disappeared to make sure it did not violate the company’s standards.

The new live video feature will be rolling out globally to iOS and Android users slowly over the next few weeks.

You can now send disappearing photos and videos privately, too.

In Instagram Direct, the platform’s private 1-on-1 or group messaging tool, you’ll now see a row of Stories-style bubbles up at the top. The difference between these photos and videos and Stories is that you can only view them once and, after that, they disappear.

To send a temporary photo and video, swipe right from the main feed to open the Stories Camera. You’ll now see a big arrow on the bottom right. That arrow will take you to a share sheet with a list of users you can message directly or groups you’ve messaged privately in the past.

Users can still send non-ephemeral messages through Instagram Direct. This update rolls out to all users today.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.