The private messaging feature of Instagram is to be removed from the service and replaced with a standalone app.
(CCM) — Instagram is planning to split the private messaging feature from its app and to offer a standalone messaging app called Direct instead, according to a report in The Verge. The move would mirror the actions of its parent company Facebook, which removed messaging from the core Facebook app in 2014 and replaced the feature with the standalone Facebook Messenger app.
The reason for the split is the notion that private messaging does not fit comfortably within an app which is designed for broadcasting images and messages publicly. "Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own," Hemal Shah, a product manager at Instagram, told The Verge. "We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app."
Direct has been launched for testing on Android and iOS in six countries: Israel, Chile, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Once installed on a smartphone, the inbox in Instagram disappears and can then only be accessed from the Direct app.
Instagram has not announced how long the tests will last and when it expects Direct to be rolled out to the rest of the world.
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