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Instagram unveils private video and photo messaging services

NEW YORK--Instagram on Thursday unveiled a new service, allowing its 150 million members to send private photo and video messages to friends and loved ones.

The Instagram Direct launch comes ahead of the holiday season just two days after rival Twitter rolled out updated mobile software allowing smartphone users to send pictures in direct, private messages.

The founder of the smartphone photo-sharing service, Kevin Systrom, made the announcement in Manhattan, fielding questions from journalists on site and those following all over the world.

“I would like to introduce Instagram Direct, a simple way to send photos and videos to your friends and family,” he said.

“Sometimes there are moments that are meant for one person, or a few close friends: an inside joke among friends, or a picture sent to someone you love just to say hello,” Facebook-owned Instagram said.

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