Instagram combats social distancing with video chat tool


new live media share app
Windows for a world in isolation.
Photo: Instagram

Instagram rolled out a new live media-sharing tool Tuesday that narrows the gap created by social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Friends following each other can now view Instagram posts together through a video chat.

Instagram is among dozens of platforms adding features to make sure people are informed about the coronavirus and remain connected during self-isolation. Apps like Zoom and HouseParty have seen a sudden spike in downloads on the App Store as people seek to salvage social lives and family connections during stay-at-home orders.

News of the live share feature was part of a larger coronavirus-related post on the Instagram blog. In it, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app announced stickers promoting accurate information, removal of dubious COVID-19 accounts and ways to donate to reputable organizations working to fight the outbreak.

Instagram users can tap the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread to start a video chat. A window of friends in on the chat appears and the group can view saved, liked and suggested photos and video. Just tap the photo icon in the lower-left corner in a video chat to come together.