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Users of Instagram, a photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, can now post picture and video slideshows that last 24 hours Photo credit: Jeremy Levin

San Francisco – Users of Instagram, a photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, can now post picture and video slideshows that last 24 hours, a feature similar to the signature function of social media rival Snapchat.

Snapchat, which launched in 2011, got its initial boost from millennials, especially teenagers, who value the privacy that the app offers. Text messages disappear right after they are read, and posts expire after 24 hours.

As with Snapchat, the new Instagram Stories feature allows its 500 million members to annotate their posts with emojis, doodles and texts, Instagram said in a blog post on Tuesday.

The feature is the latest salvo between Facebook, which bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, and Snapchat, which rejected Facebook’s $3 billion buyout offer just three years ago, as they try to attract more users.

Snapchat is popular with younger people who want to shield their posts from the eyes of their parents, who are more likely to be on Facebook, whose 1.7 billion monthly users tend to be older. Snapchat recently surpassed Twitter in daily users and is valued at around $18 billion.

In July, Snapchat introduced a Memories feature that enables users to save and share their content, as on Facebook.

Instagram Stories allows followers to send direct messages to the uploader but users cannot “like” an image or post a comment, as in Facebook. – Reuters