Instagram's forgotten messaging app just got a big update, for some reason

Instagram Threads app
Instagram Threads app (Image credit: Instagram)

What you need to know

  • Facebook launched Instagram Threads as a messaging app for Close Friends only.
  • An update today has turned the app into a general-purpose messaging app.
  • Facebook last week announced a merger between Instagram Direct and Facebook Messenger, it's not clear how this change fits with that move.

Facebook today just made a change to its Instagram Threads app, turning it from a place where you communicated with just your Close Friends, to an app where you could direct message just about anyone. In effect, Instagram Threads just became Instagram Messenger.

By way of recap, Facebook launched Threads as an app that would be the opposite of that. It had tested Instagram Direct as a standalone app and killed the project due it being a confusing experience for beta testers who disliked the separate DM app. It then released Threads as an app that was focused on photos and sharing your day to day life with your friends, kind of like Snapchat. The company hasn't said much about it since then, but it's been trucking along with updates in the meantime.

Instagram Threads

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

With this update, Instagram Threads is almost a great messaging app on its own, it's just not clear where it stands in the grand scheme of things. It's true that it fixes a major user pet peeve just going off App and Play Store reviews. It's also true that Facebook last week announced that it would be bringing the Messenger experience to Instagram, turning the standalone Facebook Messenger into an Instagram Direct app as well. It seemed reasonable to assume that it would be shutting down Threads, seeing as Messenger now offered a duplicate function.

Facebook could still shut down the newer messaging app in the next few months, in the meantime, you now have three ways to message all your Instagram followers. Don't let anyone tell you Facebook doesn't offer consumers choice.

Michael Allison