In brief: Facebook is trying its luck once again with a new messaging app dubbed Threads which is supposed to connect you with your closest friends and automatically share your status, location, battery life, and other real-time information with them. The interface would look very similar to the direct messaging feature that's currently part of the Instagram app and is the company's latest attempt to chip away users from competitors like Snapchat.
Instagram is reportedly looking to launch a new companion app for Instagram called "Threads." According to a report from The Verge, the app is designed to be an intimate virtual place where you communicate with a curated list of close friends.
The Facebook-owned company is once again trying to replicate popular Snapchat features in the same way it did with Stories. For the last two years, it has tried to break off the messaging features from Instagram with an app called Direct, which it eventually abandoned in May this year. Threads would similarly allow users to message friends and exchange real-time information about their status, location, movement speed and more.
The good news is that you have to opt in for automatic sharing, and The Verge was told that so far the app doesn't display your real-time location. Instead, it might say that one of your friends is "on the move." Rival app Snapchat also allows you to send your location to a list of friends with its Snap Map feature, but the core focus of Threads will be messaging, with access to creative tools for text, photo and video messages.
With Threads, Facebook aims to build a messaging app for Instagram that will drive more usage, especially among younger users who are particularly drawn to Snapchat and other platforms. The social giant has reshuffled its messaging teams, so they're now working under the Messenger executive team and Threads seems to be the result of that development.
It's not yet clear if the app will see a global rollout, but it is currently in testing with a small number of users. It's worth noting that Facebook has been trying to unify messaging across Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to capitalize on their large user pools as well as make itself harder to break. The company has invited a lot of antitrust scrutiny as of late and it's starting to bite back, with backers for its digital currency project seeking an elegant way out.