Instagram has announced its Instagram Direct service, a method of sharing photographs and videos with specific groups of people and individuals, Digital Spy said.
Previously users could only share content with their entire network, but the new system enables them to send pictures and video footage to up to 15 friends of their choosing.
Users will be able to see when their photo or video has been viewed by each user, and recipients will have the option to 'like' images and comment on them in a real-time chat space.
Instagram Direct messages will be stored in users' own inboxes, but they will only be able to receive content from the account holders that they follow.
Subscribers can still message users who are not listed among their followers, but these posts will be forwarded to a 'pending requests' subsection, allowing individuals to choose whether to receive content from the person in question.
Instagram Direct has been added into the Instagram app for iOS and Android devices. The application is available as a free download from the App Store and Google Play.