If we take a little trip back in time to early last year Facebook, according to a report by The New York Times, was looking to integrate Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs and WhatsApp under one umbrella. There were murmurings during the second half of the year that Facebook was testing cross chats between FB messenger and Instagram. Well, in an announcement on Facebook’s blog users will soon be able to chat between the two platforms.
“People are communicating in private spaces now more than ever. More than a billion people already use Messenger as a place to share, hang out and express themselves with family and friends. That’s why we’re connecting the Messenger and Instagram experience to bring some of the best Messenger features to Instagram – so you have access to the best messaging experience, no matter which app you use. People on Instagram can decide whether to update immediately to this new experience.”
In a report by Engadget, Facebook said in a briefing that this isn’t a merger. Both entities still exist separately, for example, you can still use your Instagram DMs as usual but you can, if you want, allow Facebook users to contact you if you update for the feature.
New features coming to Instagram DMs
Instagram DMs lagged behind on a number of features, forwarding messages for example. So to make this cross-compatibility possible Facebook announced that the following features will be rolled out to Instagram in the near future:
- Watch Together: Enjoy watching videos on Facebook Watch, IGTV, Reels TV shows, movies, and more with friends and family during a video call.
- Vanish Mode: Choose a mode where seen messages disappear after they’re seen or when you close the chat.
- Selfie Stickers: Create a series of boomerang stickers with your selfie to use in conversation.
- Chat Colors: Personalize your chats with fun colour gradients.
- Custom Emoji Reactions: Create a shortcut of your favourite emojis to react quickly to messages from friends.
- Forwarding: Easily share great content with up to five friends or groups.
- Replies: Respond directly to a specific message in your chat and keep the conversation flowing.
- Animated Message Effects: Add visual flair to your message with animated send effects.
- Message Controls: Decide who can message you directly, and who can’t message you at all.
- Enhanced Reporting and Blocking Updates
One of the issues I can see coming from this is how different the two platforms are. By this, I mean that on Facebook you have to use your real name and on Instagram, you can pick any available username. Some people might not want to have their Instagram account linked to Facebook in any way.
The only good thing is that when this feature is rolled out, it will be optional. How long that remains the case is something that we will have to find out.
This development also brings up another question, how close is Facebook to bringing WhatsApp into this kind of arrangement?