Instagram launches direct messaging app Threads

Instagram has launched a new standalone app, Threads, which enables users to communicate with their inner-most circle of friends with photos, videos, messages, and stories.

The new app will utilise Instagram’s Close Friends list function that was introduced last year, allowing users to narrow down their follower list and share stories and photos with a select group.

Threads enables people to communicate with their Instagram ‘Close Friends’ list

Threads aims to help people stay more connected with their Close Friends throughout the day, the social media platform, owned by Facebook, said. For Instagram users who have not previously set up a Close Friends list, they can build one in the Threads app after downloading it.

The app will open directly onto the camera, and users can add shortcuts to their screen that goes directly to different people.

According to Instagram: “Threads is the fastest way to share a photo or video with your close friends on Instagram”.

Messages from the Close Friends list will appear in both Threads and the direct messaging function on the Instagram app.

Alongside the launch of Threads is a new ‘status’ function for people to update their close friends on their current activities. A range of quick options have been provided including studying, on the move, at home, low battery, at the gym and in the wild.

A range of quick statuses have been created for users to share their current activity with close friends

Statuses will only be seen by those on the Close Friends list and will be available to users on an voluntary basis.

The motivation behind both Threads and the statuses is to give users more control and privacy over who they communicate with, Instagram said.

“Threads is a standalone app designed with privacy, speed, and your close connections in mind… Status was created with your privacy in mind – you control whether you share your status and with whom.”

In July, Instagram removed the likes number from appearing on Australian users’ posts, with Facebook following suit at the end of September. The platform then launched its first national marketing campaign in Australia, in an effort to reframe the meaning of the ‘heart’ symbol.

Earlier this year, Instagram also introduced two new products to meet the growing concern that social media platforms are not doing enough to prevent online bullying. The first, Restrict, allows users to restrict the appearance of comments from a user, so that comments would only appear to the offending user without them being notified. The second is a comment warning that uses AI technology to identify negative interactions and notify a user that their comment may be considered offensive.


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