Facebook has apparently started merging the chat services of Instagram and Messenger on mobile devices, following through with a plan that was revealed in early 2019.
For some people, a notification has popped up on the iOS and Android versions of Instagram, offering “a new way to message” while showing the photo-sharing app’s icon alongside Messenger’s. The notification, which offers users a choice of updating the app, also lists features such as a new colorful design, emoji reactions, swipe to reply, and the option of chatting with friends on Facebook.
After tapping the update button, the messaging icon of Instagram will be replaced by the Messenger logo. It is not yet possible for all Instagram users to message Facebook users, but the feature was confirmed by a spokesperson.
“A small set of people were able to update to a new test experience for Instagram messaging. We hope they enjoy the experience and we are looking forward to testing it in other countries so we can keep learning from this,” a spokesperson for Facebook told Digital Trends.
In January 2019, The New York Times reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was looking to merge the messaging services of Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, allowing users to chat with each other across the three platforms.
Zuckerberg also reportedly ordered all three apps to adopt end-to-end encryption, with the merger set to roll out in 2020. The Instagram notification may mean that the plan has been set in motion, but it remains to be seen if all three apps will be integrated into one messaging service before the year ends.
Updated April 17, 2020: Added statement from Facebook
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