Facebook adds new themes, stickers, and voice messaging features to Messenger and Instagram

Star Wars Chat Theme
Star Wars Chat Theme (Image credit: Facebook)

What you need to know

  • Facebook is improving its most interlinked messaging apps.
  • Facebook Messenger is gaining new themes, stickers to commemorate AAPI month, as well as tap-to-record.
  • For Instagram, the company is adding themes, a new read receipts feature, and new, more visual replies.

Facebook's messaging apps are already best in class, and the company today announced new features to keep it that way for both Instagram and Messenger. It's worth noting on the outset that some of these features may depend on whether you have Facebook's new Instagram integration, while some are Messenger exclusive and others are universal.

When it comes to Messenger, this update adds a lot. Messenger is getting new themes and stickers. It may be too late for May the 4th, but there's a new Star Wars sticker pack regardless. You'll also find one for Selena The Series. The company is also rolling out new stickers for Asian and Pacific Islanders month. They'll be available on Messenger proper and the more locked down Messenger Kids, aimed at helping users "support and raise awareness of key issues important to the API community."

To wrap things up, Facebook is also jumping in on the push-to-talk feature wave with a twist. Users will only have to tap once to record a voice note, allowing them to keep their hands free. It's also rolling out swipe-to-archive on mobile, allowing you to dismiss unwanted messages with a flick of your wrist.

Swipe To Archive Msgr

Source: Facebook (Image credit: Source: Facebook)

Some of these features are coming to Messenger. Themes and tap-to-record are called out specifically. You'll need to have the new Instagram Direct to see themes (that's still rolling out slowly) while tap to record is coming soon.

Instagram will get its own exclusive features, of course. Users will be able to quickly send photos back in response in DMs (iOS first, Android phones later), and the company is rolling out an enhancement to read receipts. Previously, you had to tap into a chat to see whether a message had been seen or not. With today's update, all you need to check is your message list.

All these features are rolling out today unless otherwise noted.

Michael Allison