Facebook Inc.’s Instagram said an independent messaging app is currently underway and is being tested.
Facebook currently owns two independent instant messaging apps, WhatsApp and Messenger, making the Direct Messenger app, the third to be rolled out. Instagram currently has over 228m users and a direct messaging part, popularly known as DM. This episode is similar to what happened to Facebook in 2014 when every Facebook user was indirectly compelled to download a separate app for private chats.
Three years down the line, Messenger now has over I billion monthly users and in January, Facebook started injecting ads in the app’s home page, meaning a new source of revenue for the tech giant. Seeing that many users use the app to promote their businesses, Facebook is gradually running out of ad inventory in its News Feeds, which could slow down the company’s revenue. Little wonder why it wants to utilize more of its platforms.
With over 500m users on Instagram, the chat app would obviously become a significant source of income like Facebook has, for the company. However, Instagram said it was testing the new app to make it easier for people to connect. ‘We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments and private sharing with close friends is a big part of that. To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are beginning to test Direst-a camera-first app that connects seamlessly back to Instagram’, a representative said.
Pretty soon, we would be having lots of advertisements shoving before our eyes. The same exact strategy it pulled for Facebook. It’s also a quick strategy to push Snapchat off the spotlight after the company refused a $3b takeover offer in 2013. Since Facebook doesn’t officially allow users below 13 to its apps, it is forced to buy or copy similar apps like Snapchat. It bought TBT, an app popularly used by teens to admire one another. And very recently, it introduced a messenger app exclusively for kids below 13 with full parental guidance. Not only these, they have injected every Snapchat feature into Instagram. It introduced stickers, filters and photo posts, in a bid to shoo its competitor which has been struggling since early this year.
The Instagram independent app is currently available for Android and iOS Chile Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. It will be rolling out to other countries gradually.