Instagram users in the US are reportedly starting to have their apps updated to include some aspects of Facebook Messenger (via The Verge).
Facebook-owned Instagram has shown a pop-up that says, “There’s a New Way to Message on Instagram”, which promises a new look, emoji reactions, swipe to reply to messages, and “Chat with friends who use Facebook”.
The latter implies Messenger being integrated into Instagram’s Direct Message feature. When the app is updates, the normal DM paper plane icon changes to the Messenger logo, though reportedly at the time of writing the cross-platform aspect is not yet live despite the visual changes.
It has long been rumoured that Facebook would try and merge aspects of the Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp apps into a wholly integrated, data hungry experience.
Many will, perhaps rightly, welcome the move of bringing together two of their most-used apps. But it serves as reminder that Facebook was allowed to buy Instagram and alongside the purchase of WhatsApp holds large sway over much of the world’s digital communications.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants to introduce full end-t-end encryption to the unified messaging platform his company appears to be creating – something WhatsApp has, but Facebook Messenger does not currently by default.