Instagram is shutting down Instagram Direct, its erstwhile SnapChat competitor, a little over a year after launching the standalone app.
“We’re rolling back the test of the standalone Direct app,” an Instagram statement explains, as if the app was an experiment of some kind. “We’re focused on continuing to make Instagram Direct the best place for fun conversations with your friends.”
“The Direct app is going away,” a more direct message to users of the Instagram Direct app reads. “In the coming months, 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.”
The failure of Instagram Direct is perhaps related to a broader strategy change at Facebook, which his trying to push its core social media service to a more chat-based infrastructure that is, yes, based on the success of SnapChat and other similar apps. In this model, Facebook—and presumably Instagram—would favor more personal conversations over traditional social media posts that often spread misinformation, fake news, and biased viewpoints.
Instagram unveiled its Direct app in December 2017, in effect pulling the messaging functionality from Instagram out into a standalone app. Presumably, the death of Direct means that Instagram will once again pick up this “private sharing” functionality and that planned Direct features will now come to that app instead.