Facebook starts merging Instagram and Messenger chat systems

What you need to know

  • Facebook making big changes to messaging on Instagram.
  • It seems that Instagram and Messenger chats are starting to merge
  • The update was spotted by several editors at The Verge.

Facebook has long been working on its plans to integrate MessengerWhatsApp and Instagram chats. The first reports about a possible merger between the three services came as far back as in January 2019, but nothing much has changed for end-users since. However, that might be changing pretty soon if a new report from The Verge is anything to go by. According to the report, Facebook has started taking the first steps towards rolling out an integrated chat system for Instagram and Messenger.

Apparently, an incoming Instagram update is promising select users “a new way to message on Instagram”. The biggest new feature addition in the new update is the ability to “chat with friends who use Facebook”. The message also lists a bunch of other features, including a “new colorful look for your chats”, more emoji reactions and swipe-to-reply. The update is apparently available on both Android and iOS.

A new update for Instagram appears to suggest that Facebook has started merging chats on the app with its Facebook Messenger service.

As The Verge reports:

Facebook appears to 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.”

The new update seems to replace the Instagram DM icon with a new Facebook Messenger Logo, with more colorful chats now on offer inside the app. According to the report, you can’t yet message Facebook users from within Instagram, but this move does signal the start of Facebook’s previously touted plans to allow cross-platform messaging across Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

In a report last year, Facebook announced it was creating deeper integrations to allow for better integration, but that its three messenger services would continue to operate as standalone apps. From that report:

According to a new report from The New York Times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is pushing for a plan to create new backend integrations for the company’s Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp applications.

To be clear, Facebook isn’t going to take these services and merge them under a new single one. They’ll all continue to operate as standalone apps on your phone, but technical changes behind the scenes will be made so that they can more seamlessly work with one another.

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