Facebook, which owns Instagram, is killing Instagram Direct, the standalone messaging and camera app used for sending Instagram direct messages.
The company said that in the coming month it will stop supporting app. Fear not, Instagram Direct users: Facebook also says conversations will automatically be transferred to the main Instagram app, so they don't have to archive anything or something along those lines.
Social media commentator Matt Navara first spotted the change, which he echoed on Twitter.
Instagram Direct Shutting Down
Instagram Direct was launched in December 2017, seen largely as an attempt by Instagram to take on Snapchat's core features. The app launches a camera right out the gate, offering a slew of filters not unlike those found on Snapchat. Users can also swipe down from the top of the screen to type messages to Instagram contacts.
As The Verge notes, Direct marked the second time instagram copied a core feature from Snapchat. The first one was in 2016, when Instagram also launched its own version of Stories, which has since become a major part of the whole Instagram experience and estimatedly eclipsed Snapchat Stories as well.
It's not immediately clear why Facebook is shutting down Instagram Direct. It launched the app in six countries to start but never rolled it out globally. A spokesperson for Instagram said the company is "rolling back the test of the standalone Direct app" and will instead focus on "continuing to make Instagram Direct the best place for fun conversations with your friends."
In any case, all the features on the standalone app are available on the main Instagram app, anyway so this might not upset people much. As TechCrunch reports, Instagram will continue working on Direct features but those will no longer be on Instagram Direct and be integrated into the main app instead.
Killing off Instagram Direct makes plenty of sense especially since Facebook is working on a more unified messaging service that bundles all its apps, namely Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, into one. To be clear, it's not planning to merge all these services into one; rather, it wants users to be able to message friends and family across different service using just a single platform.
In this context, there'd be no place for Instagram Direct in the long run, and it would not line up with Facebook's broader plans of simplifying the messaging experience across its owned properties.