Facebook is closing Direct, a standalone messaging application that is used to send direct Instagram messages. "In the next month, we will no longer be supporting the Direct application", read a message in the application announcing the closure. "Your conversations will automatically move to Instagram, so you do not need to do anything." The announcement was first seen by social media commentator Matt Navarra .
Launched for the first time in December 2017, Direct was an apparent attempt on the part of Instagram to take on the main functionality of Snapchat. The application was launched directly to your camera, complete with a bunch of Snapchat-style filters, but you can also swipe down from the top of the screen to write messages to your Instagram contacts. Direct was the second time that Instagram borrowed an idea from Snapchat; also launched a feature of Stories in 2016 that since then has become an important part of its platform.
Instagram has not explicitly stated why he is ending his experiment with Direct. The application was initially launched in six countries (Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay), but it seems that it has never been launched worldwide. An Instagram spokesperson said the company is "rolling back the Independent Direct Application test" and is "focused on continuing to make Instagram Direct the best place to have fun conversations with your friends." They added that all functions of the Direct application are currently available on Instagram. TechCrunch reports that Instagram will continue to work on Direct's features, but will no longer live in a separate application.
When Direct was first released, we speculated that it could mark the first step towards eliminating Direct Messages from Instagram's main application, similar to the way Facebook eliminated the ability to send messages from the application of Facebook in 2014 after launching Messenger. However, direct messaging is still alive and in good standing on the Instagram application, even if it is absent on the Instagram website.
In the long term, Facebook intends to merge the messaging systems of Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook, allowing users on any platform to send messages to others. With the big changes that were coming, this was potentially the right time to finalize the independent messaging app experiment from Instagram.