Instagram Stories has just launched its own take on live video, and it's all completely ephemeral: once the show's over, both the video and the messages are gone for good.

Live video is a growing trend and, since it proved to be a popular feature on Facebook, it was only a matter of time until Facebook-owned Instagram offered such an option.

Ephemeral Live Video

Unlike other live video services, however, Instagram Stories live video is not here to stay. Viewers can send hearts and comments, but once the video is over, everything disappears.

This ephemeral aspect sets Instagram's live video apart from the crowd, including Facebook Live video and Twitter's Periscope, both of which allow users to save their live videos on the respective platform. In fact, Instagram live video mostly resembles the now-defunct Meerkat, which shut down in late September.

News about the live video option on Instagram surfaced last month, but there was no indication at the time that Instagram would make it completely ephemeral. At the same time, that leak suggested that users would have to tap a button that says "Go Insta!" but that's not the case.

Ephemeral Live Videos Aim To Make Users Feel Comfortable

According to Instagram, the live videos will disappear in order to make users feel comfortable even if their medium can often be intimidating. Having ephemeral live videos lifts some of the pressure, allowing users to stay in the moment without worrying that the video will remain stored for posterity.

"Live video on Instagram Stories helps you connect with your friends and followers right now," says the company. "When you're done, your live story disappears from the app so you can feel more comfortable sharing anything, anytime."

How To Go Live On Instagram Stories

Going live is as easy as it gets. Once you're on Instagram Stories, simply swipe right from your feed to open the camera and tap the "Start Live Video" option. You can go live for up to one hour at a time, and your friends may receive a notification that you're live. When you're streaming live video, you can receive comments, turn them off, or pin a comment so that all viewers see it.

The app will not notify everyone when you go live, but only a part of your followers. More specifically, it will only notify the followers who are most engaged with your photos and videos. On the other hand, if you don't want a particular user to have access to your live videos, you can easily report them or block them from seeing your broadcasts.

However, Instagram will also promote live videos from users you don't follow, listing them in a widget called "top live" placed at the top of your feed.


Live video is currently rolling out to a test group of Instagram Stories users, but it should become available to everyone soon enough. A revamped Instagram Direct is also in the mix, bringing a direct messaging feature similar to that of Snapchat. The revamped version will show camera conversations, allow users to send disappearing photos and videos to groups or individuals, and tell people when someone took a screenshot.

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