Facebook is working on a new Instagram messaging app called Threads that will give your friends automatic status updates on essentially your every move, including information about your location, speed, and even phone battery life.
The new app takes a lot of influences from Snapchat, giving users the ability to send photo and video messages to people on their Instagram “close friends” list, according to The Verge. It’s not the first time Facebook has gone after Snapchat’s ideas: The popular Stories feature on both Facebook and Instagram was largely ripped off from Snapchat’s messages that vanished after a day.
Users will need to opt into automatic status updates. According to the Verge, the app doesn’t currently share your real-time location with friends, instead saying that you’re “on the move.” All that could change, however — Facebook is still testing the app internally.
Expect a lot of synchronization between Threads and Instagram. The messaging platform appears to work similarly to Instagram’s current messaging system. You’ll also be able to view your friends’ stories from within the Threads app. It all points to a push to draw people away from apps like Snapchat and TikTok, both of which are popular with younger users.
Facebook has yet to say when Threads would launch to the public. Instagram spokesperson Devi Narasimhan declined to comment to Digital Trends on the report.
Instagram had previously worked on a direct messenger app called Direct, though the company ended work on that in May. Facebook also recently merged the Instagram and Facebook Messenger teams, though it’s not clear how that impacts Threads.
Over the past year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly said that “the future is private” and that his company would focus significantly more resources on private messaging and groups. At the same time, automatically sharing your key private data with your friends also means you’re automatically sharing it with Facebook – a company that’s not known for its respect for privacy. In July, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined the company a record $5 billion for its numerous privacy violations, most notably the Cambridge Analytica scandal.