The social networking giant Facebook has recently made a move to make it easier for users on the company’s messaging platforms to communicate with one another more easily. These two platforms are Facebook Messenger and Instagram, with Instagram also set to receive an updated DM interface that will use some of the features found on Messenger.
Some of the updates on the Instagram side include custom emojis, selfie stickers, allowing messages to vanish as seen in Snapchat, chat colors, and other methods to block messages. Users will also be able to forward messages to as many as five friends or groups at once and directly respond to specific messages found in a group chat. Another new feature will be the Watch Together function on Messenger where users can view videos together when on a video call. This will include videos found on Facebook Watch and Reels.
Another key thing to note is that a person’s inboxes will not be merging or anything of that nature, according to the social networking giant. Chats on Instagram will not show up in Messenger and vice versa. They will simply show the messages sent to that particular platform by friend’s or family. Thus, it would seem possible for a person to be simultaneously messaging others on both Facebook and Instagram while logged in to both.
The audiences found on both services often overlap but are definitely not one and the same. Facebook has more than 2.7 billion monthly users while Instagram has “only” 1 billion monthly users. These stats would seem to suggest many Instagram users also use Facebook too, but there is no real way of really knowing each user’s own particular preference when it comes to where they prefer to communicate with the messaging client.
Facebook emphasizes security and ability for users to opt-out of new features
This new update can be rejected by users if they would like, though the social networking giant is hoping its audience will adopt. Another new function coming with these updates is the ability to look at profiles specific to both apps at the same time. This is another feature users can reject if they so choose.
The ability to reject these new features is part of an enhanced assortment of tools dealing with privacy. Users are able to designate who is on their easy to access Chats list, who is put in the folder for Message Requests, and then who is unable to message them whatsoever. Basically, users can cherry pick who is important and who isn’t or choose to turn off the new cross- platform features entirely.
The ability to both block and report messages is still there, and it has even been expanded so Instagram users on these huge platforms can actually report entire conversations instead of just one message. On Messenger, there is a “Safety Notices” designation, which is the best way to report strange activity, and it will also be available on Instagram too.
Facebook looks to dominate the messaging game even more
There is no immediate timetable as to when the cross-messaging will first appear, though the feature is said to be in a sort of beta mode in certain test markets with the intention of being globally available in the next few months. This comes after Facebook unrolled the changes to a small number of users earlier in the summer. Another consideration is whether or not Facebook will also apply some of the new changes to another incredibly popular messaging company it owns, WhatsApp.
This is another move on the part of Facebook to emphasize private communication between individuals. CEO Mark Zuckerberg asserted in 2019, “Private messaging, ephemeral stories, and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communication.” This recent move to shore up these messaging platforms is certainly one way of accomplishing this goal.
Facebook has done a good job in adding new features that allow users across its platforms easy access to each of their accounts. The company launched an app catering to small business that gave publishers the ability to manage their pages and accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger easily. Furthermore, Facebook added a portal that is an “Accounts Center” so users can seamlessly login on these Facebook owned properties. Here users can get a better overview of what messages they are receiving via their individual apps and also opt-in for a Single Sign On as well as Facebook Pay.
Some of the new changes might seem minute or a bit confusing, and that is to be expected as Facebook continues to add, modify, and create new features that are part of a pretty extensive system that most people will not use on a day to day basis. All of these new updates have not been a walk in the park for the tech giant to implement, but they should be useful for the vast majority of users who are on one service or both.
The fact that Facebook is looking to seamlessly integrate three of the biggest properties in social media and messaging is concerning for both competitors and to an extent, the U.S. government. Many have argued, including one of Facebook’s co-founders Chris Hughes, the Silicon Valley based company is too big of a monopoly. Zuckerberg and several other titans in the tech industry were even forced to testify before lawmakers recently and will have to do so again later this month on October 28th