This week, Facebook rolled out three new features for Messenger and Instagram, in line with its promise that it would make messaging easier across all of its apps. After introducing vanish mode and disappearing messages on Whatsapp, the tech giant has now brought forth three new features including Watch Together, chat themes, and vanish mode.
Earlier this year, Facebook introduced what it’s calling a new Messenger experience on Instagram, which came around at the end of September. Going forward, the company has now introduced these three features, and announced in an official statement that, “We’re also bringing two new shows, “Post Malone’s Celebrity World Pong League” and “Here for It With Avani Gregg,” exclusively to Messenger and Instagram through Watch Together.”
Watch Together is a feature in which users can tune into IGTV, Reels, TV shows, movies, and trending videos in real-time over video chat. It allows you to tune into IGTV, Reels, movies, and TV shows with friends in real-time. You’ll see each other in a video chat below the player, where you can comment and react. To get started, open a video chat, tap the media button in the bottom right corner, and select the TV & Movies tab.
Second, in line is the TinyTAN theme in which users will be able to activate the chat theme on Instagram and Messenger and express their affection with love emojis. Instagram highlights the TinyTAN theme, which is a “group of loveable characters created from the seven members of BTS.” You can customize parts of the experience once you load up your preferred template. Themes can be enabled in individual chat settings by tapping ‘Theme’ and selecting which one you want.
Lastly, Vanish mode, which is coming soon- is an opt-in feature that makes seen messages disappear after you leave a chat thread. Starting to roll out to Instagram in the US, the new feature is a Snapchat-like mode that automatically makes messages disappear once you’ve read them and left the chat. Facebook says this feature was built with safety in mind. Only people you’re connected to can send vanishing messages, and it is an opt-in setting you have to choose to use. Vanish mode will be available on Instagram as well thanks to the new Messenger experience.
To turn it on, just swipe up in an existing chat thread – and you’re in vanish mode. Swipe up again and you’re back to your regular chat.
As mentioned by Facebook, all three features are rolling out to people in the US and “select other countries.” The features will be made available once users enable Facebook Messenger in the Instagram app. Integrating the messenger app with Instagram Direct, Facebook stated, “The main change is that people using the Messenger app can now reach you on Instagram without you needing to download a new app, and vice versa.”
Facebook has also revamped the privacy controls in Instagram and Messenger to accommodate the new cross-platform compatibility. You’ll be able to choose who can contact you on which platform, and ask Facebook to block certain requests automatically, such as from strangers or friends of friends. Facebook has additionally specified that you don’t need a Facebook account to talk to Messenger users on Instagram and vice versa.