Instagram has been part of the Facebook family since 2012, and these days, they’re looking closer than ever. Just a couple months after Instagram gave users across the U.S. the option of posting Stories directly to Facebook, it’s introducing another deep integration with its parent company. As originally reported by TechCrunch, the social media sites have started to test a tool that would allow users to bring their Instagram contacts to Facebook Messenger.
It’s a completely optional feature, but if you find that the bulk of your contacts are on the photo-sharing platform, and would rather move some of those conversations onto a less visual platform, you have an easier way of doing so.
Syncing your Instagram and Messenger accounts is now a breeze. If you navigate over to the People tab of your Messenger app, you’ll now find a new option labeled “Connect to Instagram.” As the name suggests, clicking on this button will allow you to add your Instagram contacts to the list of folks you can message via Facebook’s stand-alone chat app. And if you’re brand new to Messenger, you can bring aboard a whole lot of friend right from the get-go by importing Instagram contacts in the Messenger sign-up process.
But wait, you say. Doesn’t this open up the possibility of random Instagram users spamming me on Messenger? Not so much — at least, not in theory. Only mutual-follow Instagram contacts will be imported to Messenger, so just because someone follows you doesn’t mean that he or she will be able to reach you on Messenger. Even so, you may want to be careful about who you follow back — you may not want to be overly kind if it means opening up your Messenger inbox to all sorts of folks.
The rationale for this new integration may involve the burgeoning popularity of Instagram Messaging. As TechCrunch noted, 375 million users took to Instagram Direct as of this April. But seeing as Instagram is still primarily a one-way platform, it makes sense for the app to look for ways for users to continue their interactions elsewhere (on another Facebook-owned platform).
There’s no formal announcement about the feature as of yet, and it looks like the integration is still in its initial test stages.