Instagram has copied a number of features from Snapchat over the years. The most popular and impactful one being, of course, Instagram Stories. The company could now be copying yet another feature from Snapchat.
Instagram seems to be working on ephemeral messages for Instagram Direct, a popular feature on Snapchat where messages in a conversation disappear after you open a thread.
Instagram already copied Snapchat’s ephemeral snaps feature, whereby users can choose to send photos/videos on Instagram Direct that can only be viewed once. The new feature for ephemeral messaging is essentially the same, but it’s very much under development right now.
Jane Manchun Wong first found the feature on the Instagram app, but it’s not actually enabled for anyone. It seems like you will be able to access the ephemeral messaging mode by swiping up in a conversation, which turns the chat theme to dark mode, and your messages will disappear as soon as you leave the thread. The experience seems very much under development, by the way:
Instagram is working on “? mode” where messages disappear
It seems to be in an early barebone version but I tried my best to demonstrate how it might work pic.twitter.com/ZrUZZj0TWo
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 19, 2020
Instagram did officially confirm the existence of the new feature, however. “We’re always exploring new features to improve your messaging experience. This feature is still in early development and not testing externally just yet,” tweeted Instagram’s official communications account on Twitter.
Instagram’s new ephemeral messaging mode could take a while to be an official feature, but it could be a big hit for Instagram’s billion users.