An article published on October 21 at Russian online newspaper T Journal claimed some Instagram users in the country had found a live broadcast feature hidden within the app’s structure. The function is similar to Facebook LIVE, Meerkat, and Periscope, the article says.
TJournal reader Ilya Grishin contacted the newspaper about his findings. He is using a Nexus 6P phone and reportedly has the latest beta version of the Instagram app. When looking at Recommended Stories in the Search section, he could see that the word ‘LIVE’ appeared in red below a particular story.
Opening it caused the app to present a section called ‘Popular Live broadcasts,’ followed by an error message. The user also tried to record live video himself and published a photo of the user interface of the live video function, which features a banner that says ‘Go Insta!’
Go Insta! Details and features
A different article published by VC (another Russian news website) claimed this feature first appeared on the developer’s version of the app, launched back in August. Instagram never officially announced it and removed it from the beta version in later releases.
The source cited by the article was Russian developer Artem Pikovsky, who has previously published pieces revealing Instagram beta’s experimental functions. Pikovsky has access to the developer beta versions of the app because of his work in finding security flaws in iOS.
The published photos show an Instagram story located at the very top left of the app, and surrounded by a red circle, contrasting with the multi-colored circles used in current Stories. This story is where the small red badge reading ‘LIVE’ also appeared.
A video published by user Vadim Elistratov on VK shows the process of opening the live functionality. So far, Instagram has declined to comment on the subject. The Verge reports that suspicion about a live feed on the app has been ongoing for years.
Live video is growing in popularity
Facebook introduced its Live Broadcast feature back in January. It is now available for both Android and iOS, and it has been featured in several significant events recently, like the latest presidential debates, streamed by them and also by Twitter.
Facebook also introduced a Schedule feature for live broadcasts almost a week ago. They have not made it available to the general public but plan to do so in the coming weeks. The function would allow users to receive notifications for upcoming broadcasts.
The leaked pictures from the Instagram beta show the word ‘Schedule’ at the top right when the user access the ‘Go Insta!’ interface. It could mean Instagram will also include this function when Live broadcast comes out eventually.