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Instagram Direct Puts Private Messages in Standalone App

Instagram is testing a new standalone app for direct private messages. Called Direct, it’s available today, but only in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Much as parent company Facebook did with its Messenger app a while ago, the move simply takes Instagram’s existing direct-message function and puts it in a separate app. A new shortcut gesture lets you quickly swipe between the Direct and Instagram apps. For now, users can continue using one app if they wish; installing Direct disables the direct-message function in the Instagram app. Direct closely resembles Snapchat in appearance and functionality, putting an emphasis on the camera. The app mostly mirrors messaging functions that already exist in Instagram, but does add a few new filters, including a random censorship filter.

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