Facebook has taken the biggest step yet in integrating its messaging platforms, allowing Messenger and some users on Instagram to send messages to each other. In addition to launching cross-platform messaging, Instagram will also make major changes to its DM system, expanding the capabilities it gets from Messenger.
Instagram’s new messaging tools include disappearing messages, selfie stickers, custom emoticons, chat colors, new ways to block unwanted messages, and the introduction of Messenger’s “Watch Together” feature to let you watch videos with friends during video calls. If users choose, they will be able to reject the updates, but Facebook says users will love the new features. In addition to cross-platform messaging, users on Instagram and Messenger can search for material in both apps at the same time. Users can opt out of these features if they wish.
But the exact launch time and location of Instagram and Messenger’s cross-platform messaging features is unclear. The feature is currently being “tested in some markets and will be rolled out globally in the coming months,” CNN reported. There is no public timetable for when Facebook might start integrating whatsApp, another messaging giant.
The news is part of an ambitious plan outlined by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2019 to transition his social media empire from an empire built on public spaces to one that focuses more on private communications. As Zuckerberg explains in 2019, “private news, short stories and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communications.” By consolidating messages on its various apps, each with more than 1 billion users, Facebook wants to capture as many of them as possible.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has called for the company to be split after Mr Zuckerberg announced his ambition to integrate messaging on Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger in 2019. According to Hughes, Facebook has become a social media monopoly, and users can’t switch to any viable competitor. Several prominent U.S. politicians, including Joe Biden, the current Democratic presidential candidate, have echoed those concerns. Facebook is also under antitrust investigations in the U.S. and the European Union, and Zuckerberg testified at the FTC just last month.