Instagram is planning new ‘close friends’ messaging app Threads

27 Aug 2019

Image: MinDof/

Instagram is attempting to create a companion messaging platform, which will allow users to share media as well as real-time location, battery life and speed with friends.

Facebook is developing a new messaging app called Threads. That’s according to The Verge, which reported that the new app will work as a companion to Instagram, similar to how Messenger works in tandem with Facebook.

It’s reported that Threads will invite users to automatically share their location, speed and battery life with friends, alongside the typical text, photo and video correspondence users would send with Instagram’s creative tools.

Facebook is said to now be conducting internal tests on the app, which is designed to share information with a user’s ‘close friends list’ on Instagram. The company did not respond to a request for comment from The Verge.

According to a source familiar with the new app: “Threads will regularly update your status, giving your friends a real-time view of information about your location, speed and more.

“At the moment, Threads does not display your real-time location – instead, it might say something like a friend is ‘on the move’.”

While this may raise eyebrows about privacy concerns, similar location-sharing features were introduced by competitor platform Snapchat.

Threads will reportedly share familiar features from other messaging applications, such as a green dot to indicate that a user is online, a central feed with messages from friends and the ability to send photos in-app.

Direct app

The company had previously been developing a messaging app called Direct. Work began in December 2017, but in May of this year, Instagram scrapped the project.

Direct had been beta tested in a number of markets, including Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Israel.

According to The Verge, the concept for Direct was dumped when executives noticed that beta testers were frustrated “about having to switch between Instagram and a second app whenever they wanted to send a message”.

While this was also a problem noted when Facebook Messenger was launched, users have now become accustomed to that setup.

With Threads, users will also be able to view their friends’ Instagram Stories from within the companion app – removing the necessity to switch back and forth between apps.

Earlier this month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to merge Instagram and Facebook’s messenger teams.

Commentators have noted that Instagram’s plans to launch Threads are likely being made in an effort to increase competition between the photo-sharing platform and its major rival, Snapchat. According to the Guardian, it’s estimated that Facebook has “cloned, bid for, or used similar ideas to Snapchat no fewer than 18 times”.

There is no confirmation of when Threads could be launched.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic