Facebook has been working on a new private messaging app for Instagram, according to a report by The Verge. The new app, dubbed Threads, is meant to help users share their location and other details with their closest Instagram friends.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.
Threads allows users to exchange private messages with their closest Instagram friends, according to the report. In addition, it also offers users the option to automatically update their status, and share it with their friends. This could include information about their location, whether they are currently on the move, and more.
The app would be largely complementary to Instagram, and even mirror some of the photo sharing app’s messaging features. However, the idea seems to be to give Instagram users a space to more easily communicate with their close contacts, without having to worry about connections their other Instagram followers and not-so-close friends.
In many ways, this seems to be a response to Snapchat emphasizing connections with friends over influencers — something that’s been at the core of the app’s 2018 redesign. Facebook has not been shy about taking inspiration from Snapchat in the past, with the cloning of Snapchat’s Stories format being the most notable example.
At the same time, Facebook has also been trying similar forms of private messaging. In 2017, Instagram began working on a private messaging app called Direct, which it ultimately abandoned in May. At the time, executives told the press that users simply didn’t want to switch back and forth between multiple apps for messaging.
Some of Facebook’s more recent moves could alleviate at least part of that problem. The company has been making a push to integrate all of its messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, allowing users to message each other across these apps. This could conceivably also apply to Threads, allowing users to exchange messages with their Instagram friends without forcing them to download yet another app first.