Saturday, December 4, 2021

Instagram to shut down Threads as Meta consolidates its messaging platforms

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Instagram’s standalone messaging service Threads will cease to exist by the end of 2021, Meta has confirmed to TechCrunch. The app will display a notice prompting users to return to Instagram starting November 23rd.

Threads was a similar idea to Facebook Messenger — it allowed users to send and receive Instagram DMs in a dedicated messaging interface outside of the main app. It had a collection of quirky features, including automatic statuses that the app could set for you based on what your phone was doing. All of those tools will be available in Instagram itself by the time Threads shuts down, the company said in a statement to TechCrunch.

Meta is also in the process of consolidating its many messaging platforms. Messenger and Instagram now both support cross-platform messaging, and the company has said it intends to incorporate WhatsApp as well. Threads — an app solely connected to Instagram — may make less sense the more the lines blur between Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

But it’s also the case that not a heck of a lot of people were using Threads to begin with. The app had just over 200,000 users as of last year, which is a tiny percentage of Instagram’s billion-plus user base. Meta tried a number of things last year — it redesigned the app entirely and expanded its use cases from just the close friends list to all users — but it seems they weren’t enough to save it.

Meta told TechCrunch, “We’re bringing the fun and unique features we had on Threads to the main Instagram app, and continuing to build ways people can better connect with their close friends on Instagram. We hope this makes it easier for people to have all these features and abilities in the main app.”

The Verge has reached out for additional comment.

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