| NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO Dec 12 Photo-sharing
service Instagram unveiled a new feature on Thursday to let
people send images and messages privately, as the Facebook-owned
company seeks to bolster its appeal among younger consumers who
are increasingly using mobile messaging applications.
The new Instagram Direct feature allows users to send a
photo or video to a single person or up to 15 people, and have a
real-time text conversations.
Instagram claims to have more than 150 million monthly users
who have shared 16 billion photos on the service. Until now, the
photos could only be shared publicly and seen by anyone using
Facebook Inc, the world's No. 1 Internet social
network bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012.
The new features comes as Facebook and Instagram face
increasing competition from a new crop of mobile messaging
services, including WhatsApp and Snapchat. In October, Facebook
said it was seeing a decline in daily use by younger teenagers
in the United States, although it said overall use by teenagers