Facebook confirmed that it’s merging Messenger and Instagram Direct Messages, in a newsroom article. The company started testing the feature earlier this summer with a limited pool of users.
After the unification, Instagram users can chat with Facebook users and vice versa on the same platform. Replacing the paper plane icon for Instagram DMs, features that are available only on Facebook Messenger will be now featured on Instagram, including colorful chats, more emoji reactions, and swipe-to-reply.
View this post on Instagram
Say 👋 to a new messaging experience. Today we’re starting to bring some of the best @messenger features to Instagram. That means sending messages across Instagram and Messenger and features like selfie stickers, watch together and vanish mode. We’re rolling out these updates in a few countries and we’ll expand to more soon. Our hope is to make it easier to stay in touch with friends across our apps. Stay tuned for more.
It also brings new features to Instagram DMs. Instagram users can now forward messages, add in-line replies and reactions, or schedule chats to disappear automatically with a new “vanish mode” in tow. There are also improved tools for reporting harassment and other inappropriate behavior on Instagram, taking a page from the Messenger’s book. The Messenger and Instagram DMs unification is totally optional – at least for now.
The company plans to unify its messaging services and keep users engaged in the Facebook ecosystem of apps. The long-term plan is to unify Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp chat platforms, with user privacy in focus.
Last week, Facebook appealed to Apple to allow Messenger as the default messaging app on iOS. This is in light of iOS 14 that enables users to select a third-party app as the default browser and email app; Facebook says excluding messaging apps is unfair.