Mobile Internet

Instagram Looks to Rival Snapchat by Copying It

According to a report from The Verge, Facebook is trying its luck once again with a new messaging app named Threads which is supposed to connect you with your closest friends and automatically share your status, location, battery life, and other real-time information with them. The interface would look very similar to the direct messaging feature that’s currently part of the Instagram app.

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service launched in 2010. In April 2012, Facebook acquired the service for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock.

Threads, if it ever officially launches, would be an extension of the ‘Close Friends’ feature Instagram added to Stories last year, a simple add-on that allows users to create a select list of their followers to show the more intimate content that they’d rather not broadcast to everyone. Instagram has so far declined to comment on the issue.

This move is seen as Facebook’s “latest assault on Snapchat,” The Verge says, as Facebook may be looking to encourage Instagram users to spend more time inside its app rather than Snapchat.

Snapchat has about 190 million daily active users, which is not huge when compared to the 500 million people who use Instagram every day. But the people who do use Snapchat tend to spend more time on it, largely because it’s the space they’ve designated for nurturing their more important relationships

Facebook is trying to come up with ideas to ace this chase of rivalry and to counter this edge, Instagram has gone on to unabashedly copy a whole bunch of features of the Snapchat ecosystem, from face filters to disappearing messages. There are many formal occurrences in which Facebook is accused of copying features from Snapchat.

The app wants you to share all that data with your “close friends” and may turn out to be a great feature for some users, especially for people who would want others to know at all times where they are. For example, Location-sharing has become increasingly common among families and friend groups as well, in large part because of Snapchat and Apple’s Find My Friends. People most often use Snapchat to keep track of their friends using the Bitmoji map, The close friend concept is also instrumental to share a particular picture with a select group audience.

However, at the same time, Threads might send the wrong message, teaching some Instagram users that it’s perfectly ok to share location data and other sensitive information with, basically, Facebook.

The problem with Threads is that it will actively encourage users to share more details with close friends, not just messages and status updates, but also the list includes sensitive information like location, battery life, and even speed. It will further complicate the on-going privacy debate.

It’s unclear when Threads might launch. Facebook might end development before shipping the app to the general public, as it did with Direct. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in March that he sees private messaging as the future of the company. Threads appear to represent the company’s latest effort to make that vision a reality.

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