Around a month after Facebook began quietly merging its Messenger service with Instagram direct messaging, the transition has been officially launched, with a full rollout to all users soon to follow.
As a result of the merging of the chat services, Instagram users can chat with Facebook users and vice versa using the same platform. Features previously only available on Facebook Messenger can now be accessed in Instagram, including colorful chats, more emoji reactions, and swipe-to-reply. In addition, the regular paper airplane DM icon in the top-right corner of the Instagram UI has been replaced by the Facebook Messenger logo.
The move is part of Facebook’s long-term plan to merge Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp chat platforms. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly wants all the apps to incorporate WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption and put a new focus on user privacy.
The company hopes that unifying its messaging infrastructure will help to keep its billions of users engaged in the Facebook ecosystem, in an attempt to ward off rival messaging services such as Apple’s iMessage.
Last week, Facebook began lobbying Apple for an option to make its Messenger service the default messaging app on iOS, arguing that now users can select a third-party app as the default browser and email app, it is unfair to exclude messaging apps.