Threads, one of Instagram’s messaging apps, is getting an update. In doing so, it deprives itself of the function that has separated it from Instagram Direct.
The Messenger App Threads from Instagram is getting an update. If you haven’t noticed that threads exist at all: don’t worry, most of them don’t. Threads is a messenger app that is decoupled from Instagram Direct and enables communication with your closest friends (based on Instagram’s close friends list). But that is changing now, because as reverse engineer Jane Wong and social media expert Matt Navarra share on Twitter, Instagram is expanding messaging to all users.
Instagram Threads app has basically become the Direct app reborn with the latest update that allows messages with anyone, not just close friends pic.twitter.com/5JwGDhlejd
– Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) October 6, 2020
Instagram update for its Threads app on iOS pic.twitter.com/oOsbCrcqZ9
– Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) October 7, 2020
Is that the end of threads?
Why Instagram made this decision is not clear. Ultimately, it robs Threads of the essence of its otherness to Instagram Direct. As Monica Chin reports on The Verge, as a user she appreciated the “exclusivity” of the app. In the messenger, which is very reminiscent of Snapchat, messages can be sent and photos shared in an environment in which only the best and closest friends are present. With the update, Threads will have two mailboxes and will still prioritize close friends. But in the second mailbox, users will also have access to all other messages. A connection to Facebook Messenger as in the Instagram app is not planned, according to Instagram.
The only other difference to the Instagram Direct mailbox are the status updates that Threads displays. The app creates this automatically based on the location. The status updates show, for example, something like “at home”, “on the move” or “low battery”. While this function can be switched off and users can also manually set a status, this is the only feature that still distinguishes Threads from Instagram Direct. At the beginning of the year, Facebook also tested automatic status updates in Messenger, which makes Threads look like a test platform for new features. And why not: The app has not met with great approval from Instagramers after it was released and until now. As Business Insider reports, there were about 222,000 downloads in October last year. That is about 0.1 percent of the monthly active users of the platform. The perfect test group? It is not to be expected that the number of downloads will increase in the future, after all, Threads does not offer anything that cannot be found on Instagram. It is therefore surprising that energy is invested in the further development of the app at all. It remains to be seen what the plan is for the Messenger app.
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