Cross-App Messaging | How the Instagram Feature works

Back on September 30th, 2020, Facebook announced an introduction of its very new Cross-App Messaging feature. An update to Instagram DMs — by introducing a new Messenger experience on the app. Basically, Facebook Messaging has come a long way since they first brought it to Instagram. While exploring how messaging should evolve.

At the moment, they’re rolling out these new features on Instagram and Messenger in a few countries around the world. And they’ll expand globally soon. But, this is only the start to making it easier to stay in touch with your friends and family across Facebook apps. So, stay tuned for even more fun ways to connect in the future.

What Is Cross-App Messaging?

On Facebook’s family of apps alone, people send more than 100 billion messages to their friends and family each day. These days, we rely so much on video calls to hang out with friends, right? Or even send memes and GIFs to communicate what we really think (but can’t always say). And even share funny photos and voice notes to stay in touch.

What Is Cross-App Messaging?

Cross-App Messaging is a new functionality by Facebook that will allow Instagram and Messenger users to communicate across apps. In addition to bringing a host of Messenger-inspired features to the Instagram inbox. So, on Instagram, users will be presented with an option to update to a new messaging experience.

The new messaging experience offers the ability to change their chat color, react with any emoji, watch videos together, set messages to disappear, and more. As a part of this update, they’ll also have the option to chat with friends who use Facebook — the app will inform them.

The broad set of more “fun” additions to the Instagram inbox will serve as a way to entice users to agree to the upgrade. This decision, in turn, locks users further inside the Facebook universe. With cross-platform messaging interoperability, users may see fewer reasons to try a different chat app.

As one messaging app can reach friends and family across two of the world’s largest social networks. The tool allows users to manage a growing set of cross-app features, like Single Sign-On and Facebook Pay.

Why Cross-App Messaging?

People are communicating in private spaces now more than ever. More than a billion people already use Messenger as a place to share, hang out and express themselves with family and friends. That’s why Facebook is connecting the Messenger and Instagram experience. In order to bring some of the best Messenger features to Instagram.

So that you’ll have access to the best messaging experience, no matter which app you use. People on Instagram can decide whether to update immediately to this new experience.

Screenshot of update screen on Instagram

According to research, four out of five people who use messaging apps say that spending more time connecting with friends and family on these apps is important to them. Yet, one out of three people sometimes finds it difficult to remember where to find a certain conversation thread.

With this update, it will be even easier to stay connected without thinking about which app to use to reach your friends and family.

Related Topic: Signal Messenger App | Why Use it Instead of WhatsApp?

They’re also adding more than 10 new features so that you can stay close to your friends. Selfie stickers are a unique hybrid of Boomerang, emojis, and selfies – and a new way to react to conversations. Watch Together lets you watch trending videos with friends on IGTV during a video call.

In addition, they’re also introducing vanish mode. Whereby, you can set messages to automatically disappear after they’re seen. Messages and calls from friends and family using Instagram will stay in your Instagram app.

Screenshots of cross-app messaging on Instagram and Messenger

The main change is that people using the Messenger app can now reach you on Instagram easily. Without you needing to download a new app, and vice versa. You can also control where you receive messages and calls too. Such as in your chats, in your message requests, or not at all.

The Best of Messenger

They’re also bringing familiar features from Messenger like replying to a specific message, forwarding a message, and customizable chat colors and themes. Every day, more than 10 million people customize their chat threads in Messenger with custom colors and nicknames.

You’ll be able to use custom emoji reactions, and soon, message effects to put more emotion and visual flair behind your reactions and messages. Over time, you’ll see even more fun ways to connect with friends and family. Some features such as custom emoji reactions and selfie stickers will be available on Instagram first and will come to Messenger soon after.

Here are all the features coming soon to the new Messenger experience on Instagram: 
  • Communicate Across Apps: Seamlessly connect with friends and family across Instagram and Messenger by using either app to send messages and join video calls.
  • Watch Together: Enjoy watching videos on Facebook Watch, IGTV, Reels (coming soon!), TV shows, movies, and more with friends and family during a video call.
  • Vanish Mode: Choose a mode where seen messages disappear after they’re seen or when you close the chat.
  • Selfie Stickers: Create a series of boomerang stickers with your selfie to use in conversation.
  • Chat Colors: Personalize your chats with fun color gradients.
  • Custom Emoji Reactions: Create a shortcut of your favorite emojis to react quickly to messages from friends.
  • Forwarding: Easily share great content with up to five friends or groups.
  • Replies: Respond directly to a specific message in your chat and keep the conversation flowing.
  • Animated Message Effects: Add visual flair to your message with animated send effects.
  • Message Controls: Decide who can message you directly, and who can’t message you at all.
  • Enhanced Reporting and Blocking Updates: Now you can report full conversations in addition to single messages on Instagram, and receive proactive blocking suggestions across Instagram and Messenger when you add your accounts in the new Accounts Center.

Privacy and Safety

With this new update, you’ll have the choice and controls to manage your privacy too. Including whether message requests go to your Chats list, your Message Requests folder, or whether you receive them at all. Additionally, they’ll also offer tools for people to report suspicious activity too.

And then take action to block someone across apps to stop unwanted messages and calls when something doesn’t feel right. That said, you can read and learn more about your privacy here. With this update, you can now search for accounts across Instagram and Messenger.

Just as before, search results will show an account’s username or name and basic profile information for all accounts, both public and private. Posts by private accounts will continue to only be visible to friends or followers. Facebook will continue to respect your existing privacy settings, and private accounts will work the same way they do today.

By using the Cross-App Messaging, you don’t need a Facebook account to use the new Messenger experience on Instagram or to message across apps. People who use Messenger, as well as people new to Instagram, will automatically get the new messaging experience.

What choices and controls do I have?

With this update of Cross-App Messaging, you will have more control over who can reach you and how. The new privacy settings will let you decide who reaches your Chats list, who goes to your Message Request folder, and who can’t message or call you at all. For example, someone on Instagram can choose not to receive messages from people on Facebook.

And if you add your accounts to the new Accounts Center, it’s even easier to manage who can reach you across apps. To keep people safe, we provide a variety of tools that help you understand what you’re seeing and give you controls to respond to issues you may encounter.

Safety notices in Messenger help you spot and respond to suspicious activity. These notices are coming to Instagram soon and they’ll roll them out first to minors. If you feel uncomfortable in a chat, you can always report or block someone. Whether you are on Messenger, Instagram, or communicating across apps.

Read Also: A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking — by Mark Zuckerberg

When you report something, Facebook will review it and take action according to their Community Standards. And when you block an account, this only applies to the account on that platform. Hence, it doesn’t block all accounts that a person may have on Instagram or Facebook.

What if you add your Instagram and Facebook accounts to the Accounts Center? You’ll see suggestions for accounts you may want to block based on accounts you have already blocked. For example, if you’re contacted by an account that is blocked from contacting another account in your Accounts Center.

As a result, that message will be automatically placed in your spam. All in all, cross-app messaging communication is an easier way to stay connected with the people you care about. While giving you controls to manage all your experience!

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