Meta is beginning the process of disconnecting the ability to have “cross-app chats” with your Instagram contacts via Facebook Messenger and vice-versa.

Back in 2020, Meta – then “Facebook” – announced that it was connecting its Messenger experience to Instagram, enabling the latter platform to have an improved chatting experience while also ensuring its users had “access to the best messaging experience, no matter which app you use.” From either app, it’s possible to stay in touch with your Facebook friends and Instagram contacts, though to do so, you need to choose to “update” the messaging experience.

Three years later, it seems the company is now reversing course on the integration. According to a new support page, cross-app chatting between Messenger and Instagram will no longer be available as of “mid-December 2023.” The company lays out what will change once the feature is deactivated:

  • You won’t be able to start new conversations or calls with Facebook accounts from Instagram.
  • Any existing chats that you’ve had with Facebook accounts will become read-only. This means that you and others can’t send new messages in these chats.
  • Facebook accounts won’t be able to view your Activity Status or whether you’ve seen a message.
  • Any existing chats you’ve had with Facebook accounts won’t move to your inbox on Facebook or Messenger.

No reason has been given for the change, but it may be related to Europe’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which, among other things, includes requirements for large companies to offer interoperability between messaging platforms. Another of Meta’s products, WhatsApp, has already been found to be preparing a “Third-Party Chats” feature that should help comply with the DMA.

It’s possible that Meta is disconnecting this service-specific cross-app chatting feature to better prepare for wider, DMA-compliant interoperability within Messenger. Alternatively, this could simply be another instance of Meta scaling back Messenger, with the app recently losing SMS/MMS capabilities on Android and Meta shutting down Messenger Lite.

Thanks, Kevin!

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