Facebook has taken its biggest step yet to integrate its various messaging platforms, allowing select users on Messenger and Instagram to message each other apps. In addition to the launch of cross-platform messaging, Instagram is also undergoing a major overhaul of its DM system, which will be expanded with features taken from Messenger.
New Instagram messaging tools include missing messages, selfie stickers, custom emoji, chat colors, new ways to block unwanted messages, and the Messenger Watch Together feature that lets you watch videos with friends during a video call.
Users will be able to decline the update if they choose, but Facebook will no doubt have access to the new features to encourage them to say yes. In addition to cross-platform messaging, users on Instagram and Messenger can also search profiles for both apps simultaneously. Users can choose from these features if they wish.
However, when and where cross-platform messaging will be available is Instagram and Messenger, although it is not clear. According to CNN, the feature is currently being “selected in select markets and will expand globally in the coming months.” When Facebook can also begin integrating its other messaging Bemoth, WhatsApp, there is no public timeline.
The news is part of an ambitious plan outlined by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2019 to transform its social media empire established in public spaces with a greater focus on private communications. As Zuckerberg explained in 2019, “Private messaging, short-term stories and small groups are among the fastest growing areas of online communication.” By integrating messages across its various apps, each of which has more than 1 billion users, Facebook hopes to capture more of this market.
Previous steps include the introduction of an app for small businesses that lets them manage pages and profiles on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, and a new account center tool that allows anyone to control their login information on various Facebook properties lets you.
Integrating these services is a major infrastructure challenge, particularly for the upcoming integration of WhatsApp, which is encrypted end-to-end. But a major hurdle could come from regulators, who are wary of Facebook’s dominance in mobile messaging.
After announcing his ambition to integrate messaging on Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger in 2019, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for the company to be broken. Hughes argued that Facebook had become a social media monopoly, with users unable to switch to any viable competitors. These concerns have been echoed by many prominent American politicians, including current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Facebook is also currently undergoing antitrust investigations in both the US and the European Union, with Zuckerberg testifying before the FTC only last month.