Facebook begins merging Instagram and Messenger chats in new update

Facebook has started flipping the switch on integrating the chat systems for Instagram and Messenger. On Friday evening, several editors at The Verge across the country — on both iOS and Android devices — noticed an update screen popped up in Instagram’s mobile app with the message “There’s a New Way to Message on Instagram” with a list of features including a “new colorful look for your chats,” more emoji reactions, swipe-to-reply, and the big one: “chat with friends who use Facebook.”

Once you hit update, the regular DM icon in the top right of Instagram is replaced by the Facebook Messenger logo. Chats on Instagram are indeed more colorful than before, with the sender’s messages shifting between blue and purple as you scroll. However, at least for right now, it’s still not possible to message Facebook users from Instagram.

Facebook has made clear its plans to unify the messaging platforms of its hugely popular apps to allow cross-messaging among Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Facebook was said to be rebuilding the underlying infrastructure so users who were on only one of its apps could connect to others using different Facebook apps. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also said he wants the system to be end-to-end encrypted. By integrating its most popular apps, Facebook may be able to compete more directly with Apple’s iMessage.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed it was testing the experience. “A small set of people were able to update to a new test experience for Instagram messaging,” the spokesperson said in an email to The Verge. “We hope they enjoy the experience and we are looking forward to testing it in other countries so we can keep learning from this.”

Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, and bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.

UPDATE August 17th 11:35AM ET: Added confirmation and comment from Facebook spokesperson

Comments

Let the antitrust begin.

This was talked about before, Zuck wants to get them integrated as quickly as possible so they can’t be split up. If the regulators were going to do anything they could have moved and put a hold on the integration when they could have.

It’s over, welcome to Facebook. This is why the founders left WhatsApp and Instagram over the last couple of years.

Sounds like a plan to thwart any breakup attempts.

No thanks. I don’t want my FB account linked to my IG.

W-what’s the difference in your head exactly?

As long as the friend lists don’t auto merge I’m cool with it. I like my Instagram being more limited, and then my Snapchat is super limited.

They’re… Different accounts, with different information, different friends, etc.

Yes, they’re both owned by Facebook, you don’t need to be condescending. If my ancient Facebook friends start showing up in my Insta messages that’ll be hell.

Coffee shop vs Pub

They are not public places, maybe share some customers, both serve to socialiize

But starbucks serving beers?
The corner pub serving Latte?

Sucks for people who develop AR filters for IG, you have to link accounts and if you unlink the filters disappear.

I absolutely hate this, anybody with a decent IG following will hate this. This is a panic move to give them the "You cant break us up it’s impossible to separate services!" excuse.

Then don’t link them? No one is stopping you from keeping your FB and IG accounts separate.

I’ve heard from people who work at FB that there’s a "one user one account" effort. I think it primarily targeted people who used separate FB and Messenger accounts but it will probably apply to IG too soon

You know that eventually they’ll force it…

Why does Facebook ruin everything?

because you are not the customer, you are the product. This allow to harvest data from you more easily.

I’ve had the Messenger icon for weeks along with the purple and blue chats. Surprised that wasn’t explained at all until now.

I’ve quit Facebook for over 5 years and I would hate to have to use it again. I still use WhatsApp and Instagram to keep in touch with friends. Can these big companies just stop buying their competitors and messing them up?

If you’ve been using Whatsapp and Instagram all this time, you’ve never quit Facebook.

Maybe it’s just me, but the two messaging platforms are very, very different from my point of view. Instagram messages halve always felt more out-of-the-eyes, more intimate and at the same time relaxed. There’s stuff, people and topics I would engage with only on Instagram messages, period. If those conflate with Messenger…that will be really weird and a loss. And it will definitely create an opportunity for some other service. But in general – they totally have no clue what made Instagram unique.

That’s how it may have felt to you but I bet you can’t rationalise those feelings.

The most obvious objective reason is rooted in how they are designed differently, for different kinds of use, and expose contrasting level of information about the person to other users. Instagram is more of a person’s alias, the virtual persona, while Facebook profile references the actual person, starting from emphasis on the name, profile picture etc.. The messages there are designed to be briefer, unlasting etc. The amount and kind of information you can share there is different. And the two platforms allow to keep separate different spheres or communication. Like you don’t bring you coffee shop talk into the bar talk and vica versa. Conflating the messages is super strange. Of course, I see the formal rationale, but from user perspective this can result in tension. Facebook is definitely chipping at Instagram’s core through such iterations.

personally i like this because i dont really like the way instagram’s dms work

I seriously can’t understand how Facebook doesn’t realize that people hate them and that this is just digging the grave for instagram faster and faster

Where are people gonna go, tho? I mean, I realise Tiktok is a rival to Instagram, but (and ignoring for a moment the current Trump-related problems for Tiktok), it’s still a very different platform. It competes with Instagram’s stories and that stupid Reels thing it’s launched to challenge Tiktok, but… where are people gonna go to get the same photography-focused feed?

Twitter isn’t a true rival to that, and neither is Flickr (though it bloody well could’ve been).

Whatever problems Insta is facing in terms of retaining users and growing even further, the increasing integration with Facebook probably isn’t that big of a concern for the majority of its users IMO.

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