Instagram is reportedly working on a new messaging app after shutting down its previous messaging app ‘Direct’, earlier this year. ‘Wait’ I hear you say, ‘Instagram had a direct messaging app earlier this year?’. Well, it did, kind of. Initially launching in Uruguay, Chile, Turkey and other regions in 2017, the app was meant to be a competition for Snapchat however, the app was not heavily promoted and so, unfortunately, was never a massive hit.

So, what’s this new Instagram messaging app all about?

According to The Verge, "Instagram is developing a new messaging app called ‘Threads’ that is meant to promote constant, intimate sharing between users and their closest friends." Kind of like Snapchat in the way that it will look to focus on building stronger, more constant connection between smaller, enclosed groups.

‘Threads’, which is designed as a standalone app to Instagram, will invite users to automatically share their location and battery life with friends, along with the more typical photo and video messages. All the usual Instagram creative tools, features and filters will be available on ‘Threads’.

The average Snapchat user spends more time inside the app than the average Instagram user does - The Daily Beast

‘Threads’ could represent Snapchat’s biggest competition yet.

Instagram's new messaging app 'Threads'
Illustrated screenshot from 'Threads' - a new messaging app from Facebook and Instagram.

How does ‘Threads’ work?

A key feature of ‘Threads’ would be an automatic sharing option which The Verge has explained:

“Opt in to automatic sharing, and ‘Threads’ will regularly update your status, giving your close friends a real-time view of information about your location, speed, and more.”

So, automatic, live updates on your location, like a tracking system for your closest friends. Do people really want that? I suppose you could compare it to the Snap Map, which the majority of Snapchat users have embraced since its launch.

You can also update your status manually, with statuses appearing in the main feed along with your messages. These stories would be the same as what is normally posted on Instagram – a mix of photos and videos.

The core of ‘Threads’ is messaging, which appears to look very similar to the existing direct messaging inside Instagram. Messages from your friends appear in the central feed, with a green dot indicating whether your friends are online or not. Recent stories can be viewed inside ‘Threads’, as well as inside Instagram. There is also a camera function on ‘Threads’ which means you can send photos and videos to your friends, directly from the app.

Instagram's new messaging app 'Threads'
Illustrated screenshot from 'Threads' - a new messaging app from Facebook and Instagram.

Essentially ‘Threads’ is an updated version of Instagram DMs, with added automatic status updates based on real-time. This new app could help Instagram build stronger bonds with its users – or it could, as Direct did, fall flat. It’s hard to say which way it will go at this stage…

At the moment, it is unclear when ‘Threads’ might launch but reports say the app is currently being tested internally at Facebook. In March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he sees private messaging as the future of the company so, let’s keep our eyes peeled for this exciting new Instagram messaging app!


Beth Dennehy

Beth manages SONDR’S clients’ social media accounts. Using her creative flair she plans and creates various forms of content.