UPDATE (11/13): Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has said that DMs are not in the development pipeline for Threads.
Despite initial hesitation on adding messaging features in the new app, the Threads team at Meta is now apparently developing an in-stream DM option, which would bring it more into parity with X, and other social apps.
As per the above Thread from data privacy researcher Jorge Caballero, the Threads app recently added some new data strings that seemingly relate to DMs.
Caballero notes that Threads DMs will likely be encrypted, while users will also be able to send self-destructing messages, if they choose.
Which is pretty much in line with Meta’s other messaging tools, while the fact that it’s looking to add encryption by default would also enable it to be inter-operative with Meta’s other messaging features, in line with its broader messaging integration plan.
Which also may have been a key reason why the Threads team was initially not looking to add messaging into the app. Meta’s been working to integrate all of its messaging tools since 2019, which, eventually, will see all of your DMs, from Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp, merged into a single, interoperable inbox, accessible in any app.
In other words, all of your messages from each app would be viewable across any platform, so you could message somebody on WhatsApp from IG, send a Messenger DM to a person on WhatsApp, etc.
With this in mind, Meta initially seemed to want to keep its DMs within its existing systems, as adding another inbox into the mix likely complicates things a fair bit. But as it works to become a bigger rival for Twitter/X, and facilitate broader usage, DMs remain a much-requested addition, which could mean that Threads has to add DMs, in order to tick all the boxes.
Though there’s been no official confirmation as yet. As noted, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has seemed fairly hesitant on the DM front, though his wording around such has softened in recent weeks.
So it now seems likely that this is coming, which will make a lot of Threads converts happy, especially as it looks to capitalize on its recent momentum, in the wake of X’s more recent updates.
Indeed, after X decided to change the format of link previews, and amid reports of rampant misinformation and fake reports around the Israel-Hamas war, and conversations increasingly dominated by the platform’s small percentage of paying users, Threads has seen a respective upswing, according to recent data from data.ai.
“Between Saturday and Wednesday [this week], Threads climbed from #40 to #20 on the download charts. The greatest impact was in the UK, where it climbed 32 positions from #92 to #61 overall.”
There’s been no official word from Meta as yet, but it does seem like there’s been a bigger shift towards Threads, amid ongoing concern about the direction of Elon Musk’s X project.
Whether that leads to a more significant usage shift, we won’t know for some time yet. But it does seem like Threads is gaining more traction, and by adding DMs, along with editing, Trending Topics, voice notes, etc. In combination, maybe Threads could become a genuine rival for the former bird app.
Definitely, DMs would be a contributor here. We’ll keep you updated on any progress.