Instagram Starts Merging Direct Messages with Facebook Messenger Chats
Facebook has started merging Messenger chat with Instagram's direct messaging functionality. This will allow users to chat with their Facebook contacts from Instagram, and also use various features such as swipe to reply, react to messages with emojis, and enjoy a colorful new look for chats.
Users, including yours truly, have been seeing pop-ups when they open the Instagram app. An option is given to enable the new feature now, or later from settings. However, enabling the feature right now does nothing more than changing the Direct Messages' plane icon to the Messenger icon, and change chats to a more colorful look. You cannot yet chat with your Messenger contacts though, even if you enable the feature right away.
Facebook had announced a long time ago that it was looking to merge the chat features of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook over the long run. Even though all these different services have billions of users, they cannot talk to each other. Perhaps, if users are asked, they would prefer having these chat features stay separated as not everyone is friends with the same people on these different social networks. I, for one, would not want to see my WhatsApp or Facebook contacts in Instagram's Direct Messages, but that's where we are headed.
The company also plans to merge the voice and video calling features between Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, down the road.
Facebook had recently updated its Instagram and WhatsApps to add prominent Facebook branding. The apps now show that they are made 'by Facebook' whenever you open them. The company has also been gradually copying profile data from Facebook to Instagram profiles, such as birthdate. You will get a notification of this change when you go to the 'Edit Profile' section. Although your birthdate is not shown on Instagram, Facebook's message clearly says that this change helps with personalization and ads.
While this change might make Facebook more competitive against other messaging services like iMessage and Telegram, there are some theories that might lead to further anti-trust concerns.
We will keep you updated once Instagram's chat functionality starts working with Facebook Messenger users.