Instagram launches its Threads image-based personal messaging app that looks a little familiar

Today, Facebook is launching Threads from Instagram – a camera-first messaging app that looks uncannily similar to the Snapchat of old.

The app is now available on iOS and Android app marketplaces, inviting Instagram users to use Threads as a way to stay connected with ‘Close Friends’.

Instagram launched ‘Close Friends’ last year, allowing users to prioritise personal connections on Instagram in a distinct sharing group.

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Facebook’s Threads app is a dedicated personal messaging space for Instagram users to keep up with their ‘Close Friends’ list. 

The app is essentially a standalone version of Instagram’s direct messaging function, save for the addition of statuses – emojis pinned to display pictures to ‘let your friends know what you’re up to – and a camera-forward interface.

Facebook says Threads is the fastest way to share a photo or video with close friends on Instagram, particularly with configurable shortcuts.

Facebook doesn’t appear to have plans to integrate Threads any further into Instagram’s other features – Stories, Feed, Explore – offering the app solely as a small-scale personal messaging option. 

The release of Threads will not mean changes in Instagram’s existing direct messaging function, though conversations with ‘Close Friends’ will appear in both environments.

The Threads interface is reminiscent of a pre-Stories era Snapchat, when that app was designed only for users to send ephemeral image-based personal messages. This, of course, wouldn’t be the first time Instagram has taken inspiration from Snapchat. In 2016, Instagram launched Stories on the platform, importing the entirety of the Snapchat-pioneered format, including the name.

The last app Instagram launched was IGTV in 2018, a long-form vertical video platform. Though the launch included plenty of fanfare, Instagram since has been notably quiet on activity regarding IGTV. Though no official statistics have been released by Instagram on IGTV, a Preview survey found 17.8% of existing Instagram users do watch IGTV.

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Image credit: Facebook

Josh Loh
BY Josh Loh ON 4 October 2019
Josh Loh is assistant editor at MarketingMag.com.au