Facebook offers users the ability to merge their Messenger inbox with Instagram Direct, which allows messages to be sent across platforms.
Users will see a popup when opening the Instagram app notifying them of this update.
"There is a new way to send messages on Instagram," says the popup.
The notice highlights the following advantages of merging the two chat platforms:
- New colorful look for your chats
- Respond with each emoji
- Swipe to reply to messages
- Chat with friends who use Facebook
Before you update, be aware that this will change the entire look and feel of your Instagram direct message inbox.
Instagram Direct will suddenly look more like Facebook Messenger. Even the icon on the top right of the screen is replaced with the Messenger icon.
Those who prefer things as they are will be happy to know that this update is entirely optional.
If you like the classic design of Instagram DMs or you want to keep the two inboxes separate, select the "Not Now" option at the very bottom of the warning.
Users involved in the merging of the two inboxes can choose Update.
This is what the warning looks like:
Note that even if you don't update, you may still receive message requests on Instagram from Facebook accounts.
This seems like the only way to notify Facebook users from Instagram – a Facebook user has to initiate the chat.
This may change in the future, but it is currently not possible to start conversations with Facebook users through Instagram.
In this case, this update seems to be the most useful for Instagram users who are not active on Facebook.
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This gives non-Facebook users the ability to keep in touch with friends and family who prefer to communicate via Messenger.
Now there is no need to compromise on either side. Messenger users can communicate with Instagram users without leaving the platform of their choice.
This is an update that has been in the works for well over a year, as Facebook gave the world a heads up on this change back in 2019.
Cross-platform Facebook messaging
We reported back in January 2019 that Facebook was working on merging its messaging products.
According to a Facebook spokesperson:
“(We want to) create the best messaging experiences we can. and people want messages to be quick, easy, reliable, and private.
We're working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and we're thinking of ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks. "
At that point, Facebook was planning to find a solution by early 2020.
Those plans were derailed by the pandemic, which forced Facebook to focus on live streaming instead.
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The live streaming boom was sparked by COVID-19 lockdowns, which resulted in more time being spent at home on Facebook.
To keep up with the demand for live streaming, Facebook had to pause work on other projects.
Presumably, one of the projects that was put on hold was the merging of messaging platforms.
After successfully improving its live streaming capabilities, Facebook now appears to be picking up where it left off.