Instagram is a photo-sharing social network owned by Facebook. As “home” social network “facebook.com” got its own mobile chat app – Messenger, so was planned for Instagram. It’s pretty interesting, that Facebook company got many mobile apps – main “Facebook” app, “Messenger”, “Facebook Pages Manager”, “WhatsApp” and “Instagram” and planned “Direct”. It’s something like big social network separated into smaller ones. In January many webs informed about Facebook’s apps fusion, so why another separate mobile app just for Instagram?
It’s unclear what Facebook led to develop new companion app for Instagram instead of including it in main Instagram app. We already have many mobile apps for literally one social network. Recently, users of Direct got in-app notification, which informed them that standalone app is gonna to be “killed”:
In the coming month, we’ll no longer be supporting the Direct app. Your conversations will automatically move over to Instagram, so you don’t need to do anything.
It’s not secret that Facebook’s services copied features from other competitive apps, like Snapchat. Direct, launched in 2017, was released as “Snapchat-style” app with a camera-first focus. It allowed Instagram users to message with other Instagram users with fun videos, photos, etc. If you had Direct installed on your mobile device, your DM box was removed from mother Instagram app, so all your messaging on Instagram was moved to Direct.
“We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is a big part of that”, said Facebook-owned company at the time. “To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are beginning to test Direct – a camera-first app that connects seamlessly back to Instagram.”
Instagram will continue developing Direct features and integrating them into main Instagram app. Some of interesting features present in Direct app were encryption for DM, the ability to watch videos with other people and a web version of the DM feature.
Direct was initially launched in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay. In the past, a Facebook’s experiment “News Feed” was also only rolled out to few countries, including my home country Slovakia. Direct was never released globally, which is perhaps testament to the fact that Direct was something like a side project or it was just released to test purposes.