Facebook Might Unbundle Instagram Messaging

Instagram users may be unable to send direct messages on the platform in the future

The new standalone app, also called Direct, is now being tested with users in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Except we're not talking about Facebook directly: The company is testing out unbundling messages in Instagram. It's now being tested in only six countries: Chile, Israel, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Instagram direct messaging now has 375 million monthly active users (MAUs), according to The Verge.

The app is now available in six countries, no word on whether it will be released globally but if all goes well most likely soon.

If that confuses you, think back to a few years ago when Facebook Messenger existed within the Facebook application, only for it to be turned into the standalone app Messenger that it is today.

"Direct has grown with Instagram over the past four years but we can make it even better if it stands on its own", Shah said.

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Direct is super similar to Facebook Messenger, which shouldn't be particularly surprising - since Facebook took over Instagram, more and more similarities have been popping up between the two. Swiping the app all the way to the right will bring up the main Instagram app. These are still three different markets and Facebook might just be hoping it stays that way but there is a certain amount of fatigue that sets in simply knowing you now have to deal with so many messaging apps and eventually people pick one or the other. Direct also has four exclusive photo and video filters that are not now in the main Instagram app, including a amusing one that randomly bleeps your voice and covers up your mouth. Direct's design is very similar to Snapchat at the moment, as it opens to the camera and you can swipe to the right to access your inbox, or to the left to access your profile.

To date, Instagram Stories has been Facebook's most successful effort to replicate Snap's (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat and its Stories feature.

When users open the app, a camera will open that is identical to Instagram's, but with four new exclusive filters. The only real downside is you'll have to install two apps to get the same functionality that's now present in one app.

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