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The "cross-app communication chats" feature, which allows Instagram users to message their Facebook friends on the app, will soon be phased out. The feature, which was made available for the public in 2020 allowed users to connect smoothly across these two major social networking sites Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
However, starting mid-December 2023, Meta will disable this feature and disallow users from starting new chats or making calls from within the Instagram app using Facebook accounts. The company noted on its help page,
"Beginning in mid-December 2023, you will no longer be able to chat with Facebook accounts on Instagram."
Although Meta did not explicitly state the reasons behind this decision, rumours suggest that it could be a deliberate move to address anticipated regulatory challenges, particularly in the European Union (EU).
Impact of Discontinuing Cross-Platform Communication Chats for Facebook Messenger and Instagram
When the cross-app communication capability is eliminated, Instagram users' interactions with Facebook accounts will change in many ways:
- Read-Only Chats: Any current Instagram chats using Facebook accounts will be marked as read-only. This means that once the Facebook accounts are removed from the conversation, users and those with Instagram accounts will be unable to send new messages in these chats.
- Activity Status Privacy: Facebook accounts will no longer be able to view Instagram users' Activity Status. They will also not receive notifications indicating whether or not a message has been viewed.
- Chat Accessibility on Facebook: Existing Instagram chats will not be migrated to the user's Facebook or Messenger inbox. The separation of the two platforms will be more pronounced, impeding chat continuity.
While Meta has not publicly stated the reasons for these modifications, media analysts suspect that they may be tied to legal constraints, specifically the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA wants to put harsher rules on major tech companies, and Meta's changes could be a preemptive effort to comply with emerging legislation.
In addition to these improvements, Meta has made upgrades to its products, with an emphasis on initiatives to support content creators and assist them in monetizing their work. One such initiative is Instagram's testing of an invite-only holiday bonus for creators in the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
As long as the content follows to the Content Monetization Policies, creators will earn based on the number of plays their reels receive and views on their photographs during the bonus time.
These changes and updates are planned to take effect in mid-December, likely around December 15. While the actual reasons behind Meta's decisions are unknown, the potential link to regulatory issues highlights the changing situation for major digital businesses.
The DMA, which seeks to impose stricter controls on firms such as Meta and Apple, is altering the digital ecosystem and affecting strategic decisions made by these internet behemoths.
For example, the DMA has already spurred adjustments in Apple's procedures, such as requiring iPhones to use USB C connectors. As the regulatory landscape changes, tech companies must modify their operations to meet the new regulatory norms.