Facebook is finally taking the last few steps to execute its longstanding plan of unifying all of its messaging apps, sans Whatsapp ofcourse. The social media giant has announced that it will start merging Facebook’s Messenger with Instagram’s Direct Message feature soon. This merger would include a transfer of features of the Facebook Messenger to Instagram’s Direct Message, and most importantly, the ability to cross-text on these two platforms.
The features will come in an update to the Instagram and Messenger apps in the next few months. Once updated, Instagram users can chat with Facebook users using the Direct Message itself, and vice-versa. One is not required to have an Instagram account to text an Instagram user through the Facebook Messenger, and likewise, users with only an Instagram account can chat with Facebook users through Direct Message. Facebook also gives users an additional option to switch off texts from non-Instagram users on Direct Message, and texts from non-Facebook users on Messenger.
Moreover, Facebook has clarified that if you have both, an Instagram account and a Facebook account as well, then it will not merge the two accounts or the respective inboxes. It will allow you to send and receive messages on the two apps separately.
The new cross-texting feature is optional for the users and they can choose to switch it off in the settings. “We do not want to even risk leaking the identities across the apps,” said Vice President of Product Design for Messenger, Loredena Crisan when talking about why the feature is optional.
Crisan said about the new change, “Just like today you could talk to a Gmail account if you have a Yahoo account, these accounts will be able to talk to each other through the shared protocol that is Messenger”.
The merger brings several other features to both Instagram Direct Messages and Facebook Messenger. First of all, Instagram will receive all of Messenger’s features, i.e. ability to forward messages, reactions, chat color and a new ‘vanish mode’ that will automatically delete a message after it has been read.
Instagram users can also now avail of the ‘Watch Together’ feature on the Instagram app. Watch Together allows two users to watch a video in sync together. Furthermore, the ‘Watch Together’ on Facebook will be now compatible with IGTV. Facebook is also receiving some new features such as ‘Selfie Stickers’ that can be used in the Messenger app and it works like Instagram’s Boomerang.
To make use of all the new features of the Facebook Messenger on Instagram’s Direct Message, it is not necessary to have Messenger installed on the device. Facebook is not forcing users to update to this new change, and if they want they can continue with the classic Instagram DM and Messenger app without updating.