One of the most annoying things about new-age communication is figuring out where to host your group chat (okay, maybe it’s not the most annoying). Five out of six of your friends are on Instagram, three of them don’t use Facebook. Someone has to make the switch otherwise they’ll have to be left out.
The other end of this stick is having multiple group chats across different platforms (usually all having different conversations at the same time) which can be more stressful than you might think. According to Facebook, “four out of five people who use messaging apps in the US say that spending more time connecting with friends and family on these apps is important to them, yet one out of three people sometimes find it difficult to remember where to find a certain conversation thread.”
That’s why they’ve announced cross-platform messaging for certain Facebook and Instagram users. In the statement announcing the update, Facebook said:
Messages and calls from friends and family using Instagram will stay in your Instagram app. The main change is that people using the Messenger app can now reach you on Instagram without you needing to download a new app, and vice versa. You can also control where you receive messages and calls, such as in your chats, in your message requests or not at all.
They have also decided to add 10 new features to the Instagram messaging experience, taking from Facebook Messenger. Included in those new features are secret conversations, or vanishing messages, selfie stickers and custom emoji (“a unique hybrid of Boomerang, emojis, and selfies”), chat colors and the introduction of Messenger’s Watch Together feature, which will allow users to watch IGTV videos together while on a group call.
Users will also be able to search for profiles across both apps simultaneously, although they are able to opt out if they wish.
As The Verge says, this “is part of an ambitious plan outlined by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2019 to transition his social media empire from one founded on public spaces to one with a greater focus on private communication.” According to Facebook, people send more than 100 billion messages to their friends and family each day on its “family of apps,” and, you know, why not capture yet another hugely important market?
When Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, announced his plan to integrate his messaging services – which will soon include Whatsapp, too – Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes accused Facebook of becoming a social media monopoly.
It’s unclear when the new features will be available. Facebook says it is testing them in a few countries now, and will be “expanding globally soon”.