Facebook started testing the waters of combining Instagram DMs with Facebook Messenger in August of this year. Today, the marriage that no one asked for is finally saying “I do” as the merge of these two messaging platforms is starting to roll out to all users.
According to Facebook, “more than a billion people already use Messenger,” which is why it’s connecting the service to Instagram. I don’t understand the connection there, but sure. Okay. The goal is to bring the Messenger experience to IG as a means to bolster IG’s arguably weak direct message setup. Still, I’ve never personally never been chatting with someone on IG and thought “man, if only this were Facebook Messenger instead.”
On the upside, Facebook claims that IG users can decide whether or not to opt into Messenger integration—at least for the time being. It’s not clear whether Facebook will always allow users to keep the two services separated in the long run, but one can imagine that eventually the merge will be forced.
One of the biggest changes here is that people on Messenger will be able to message you on IG—even if you don’t have a Facebook account. While Facebook will likely try to sell this as a perk, it’s unlikely that people who actively choose not to have a Facebook account will feel the same way. Despite being owned by the same company, Facebook and Instagram still very much feel like two different services.
But there are some upsides, too. Users who spend a lot of time watching IGTV videos will be able to use Messenger’s Watch Together feature so they can enjoy videos with friends and family. Watch Together is also coming soon to Reels, IG’s TikTok clone. The marriage of the two services also introduces “Vanish Mode,” which automatically removes messages after they’ve been read. Sneaky.
Outside of those, Facebook outlined on its blog a full list of all the new features IG users can expect with Messenger integration:
- Communicate Across Apps: Seamlessly connect with friends and family across Instagram and Messenger by using either app to send messages and join video calls.
- Watch Together: Enjoy watching videos on Facebook Watch, IGTV, Reels (coming soon!), TV shows, movies, and more with friends and family during a video call.
- Vanish Mode: Choose a mode where seen messages disappear after they’re seen or when you close the chat.
- Selfie Stickers: Create a series of boomerang stickers with your selfie to use in conversation.
- Chat Colors: Personalize your chats with fun color gradients.
- Custom Emoji Reactions: Create a shortcut of your favorite emojis to react quickly to messages from friends.
- Forwarding: Easily share great content with up to five friends or groups.
- Replies: Respond directly to a specific message in your chat and keep the conversation flowing.
- Animated Message Effects: Add visual flair to your message with animated send effects.
- Message Controls: Decide who can message you directly, and who can’t message you at all.
- Enhanced Reporting and Blocking Updates: Now you can report full conversations in addition to single messages on Instagram, and receive proactive blocking suggestions across Instagram and Messenger when you add your accounts in the new Accounts Center.
The rollout starts today in “a few countries around the world,” and will launch globally soon.
Source: Facebook Newsroom