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Instagram steals a page from Vine, rolls out video

Facebook and Instagram are launching a 15-second video function for the popular photo sharing site. 

By Matthew Shaer / June 21, 2013

Instagram is rolling out a Vine-like video function.

Instagram/Facebook

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A few days ago, rumors started to percolate about some sort of Vine-like video option for Instagram. Today, the scuttlebutt was proved correct: Instagram, which is owned by social networking titan Facebook, has taken the wraps off a 15-second video function, which will be integrated into the photo-sharing platform. 

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"This is the same Instagram we all know and love but it moves," Instagram founder Kevin Systrom said at a press event in Menlo Park. Users will be able to access the video mode via a special icon in the Instagram interface. There's also a "cinema" stabilization feature and a set of thirteen specialty features, including black and white and multi-hued lenses.  

According to the Associated Press, Twitter's Vine, which launched earlier this year, has approximately 13 million users. By comparison, Instagram has approximately 100 million users. 

"So what does this mean for your content? Nothing’s different from photos," Mr. Systrom wrote today in a post on the Instagram blog. "We’re still committed to making sure you have control over all of your content. Only the people who you let see your photos will be able to see your videos. And as with photos, you own your videos." 

(It's worth noting that shortly after launch, Vine was flooded with pornography; in an effort to crack down on the problem, Twitter began requiring users to confirm that they were 17 or older.) 

Of course, as Sam Biddle of Valleywag notes today, the video function is about far more than convenience for users. It's also about selling ads – and a couple companies, including Burberry and Lululemon are already employing the platform to tout their products. 

"This is how Facebook starts to recoup that billion dollar price tag," Biddle writes. "Maybe. Of course, this is only an annoyance if you're choosing to 'follow' companies on Instagram in the first place. For now—it's easy to imagine inspirational yoga pants clips being stuck into your feed, a la Facebook."

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