In December 2017, Instagram launched its standalone messaging app, Direct. The app was pretty simple in design and reminiscent of Snapchat. Like its competitor, Direct opened straight to the camera to encourage users to share.
“Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own,” a product manager told The Verge at the time. “We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app.”
Two years later, it seems that Direct has reached its limit because Instagram will no longer support the app starting this upcoming month.
The update was spotted and tweeted by Matt Navarra, a social media industry commentator. Users who open Direct now are greeted by a message saying, “The Direct app is going away.”
Confirmed: Instagram is killing its standalone Direct Messaging app pic.twitter.com/owt2gXtfCE
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) May 16, 2019
Although the app itself bears a passing resemblance to Snapchat, the actual transition is similar to Facebook’s Messenger app. Launched in 2014, users were forced to download Messenger because they couldn’t access messages inside the Facebook app itself.
“On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained during a Q&A. “Asking folks to install another app is a short term painful thing, but if we wanted to focus on serving this [use case] well, we had to build a dedicated and focused experience.”
There’s no clear explanation of why Instagram is getting rid of the Direct app. The app did have over 1 million downloads, according to the Google Play store.
If you happen to use the app, there’s no need to worry about losing the messages you may have sent. According to CNet, messages sent on Direct will automatically move right over to Instagram’s app.