What just happened? We’ve known for a while that Facebook’s cross-platform messaging functionality is on the way, and it’s finally starting to roll out. The social network has announced that from this week, users will be able to communicate with each other across Messenger and Instagram. It’ll even work if Instagram users don’t have FB accounts and vice versa.
It was at the start of last year when we first heard reports of Facebook’s plan to unify the underlying messaging infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. The results are now making their way to users, along with a host of other features arriving on Instagram’s DM function.
Facebook says that one in three people now struggle to remember which messaging app contained a particular conversation thread. Being able to communicate—both text and calls are supported—between Facebook Messenger and Instagram (and WhatsApp, eventually) should make things simpler. It’ll also benefit the social media giant’s empire, too.
Some people might not want to be contacted by FB friends on Instagram, so there is a way to turn off message requests from people on Facebook, though it’s enabled by default. It’s worth noting that accepting messages from another app doesn’t merge your inboxes; Instagram-only chats won’t appear in Messenger or vice-versa.
Other new features coming to Instagram include being able to watch Facebook Watch, IGTV, Reels (soon), TV shows, movies, and more with friends and family during a video call. There are also selfie stickers, custom Emoji reactions, forwarding, replies, enhanced reporting and blocking, and ephemeral messages.
The features are arriving in a few select countries first before being rolled out around the world. And while they might be convenient, some will see this as Facebook tightening its already iron grip on our digital lives.