Instagram to shut down Threads as Meta consolidates its messaging platforms

Instagram’s standalone messaging service Threads will cease to exist by the end of 2021, Meta has confirmed to TechCrunch. The app will display a notice prompting users to return to Instagram starting November 23rd.

Threads was a similar idea to Facebook Messenger — it allowed users to send and receive Instagram DMs in a dedicated messaging interface outside of the main app. It had a collection of quirky features, including automatic statuses that the app could set for you based on what your phone was doing. All of those tools will be available in Instagram itself by the time Threads shuts down, the company said in a statement to TechCrunch.

Meta is also in the process of consolidating its many messaging platforms. Messenger and Instagram now both support cross-platform messaging, and the company has said it intends to incorporate WhatsApp as well. Threads — an app solely connected to Instagram — may make less sense the more the lines blur between Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

But it’s also the case that not a heck of a lot of people were using Threads to begin with. The app had just over 200,000 users as of last year, which is a tiny percentage of Instagram’s billion-plus user base. Meta tried a number of things last year — it redesigned the app entirely and expanded its use cases from just the close friends list to all users — but it seems they weren’t enough to save it.

Reached for comment, Instagram spokesperson Christine Pai provided the following statement to The Verge: “We know that people care about connecting with their close friends, and we’ve seen this particularly over the past few years with the growth of messaging on Instagram.” Pai added, “We’re now focusing our efforts on enhancing how you connect with close friends on Instagram, and depracating the Threads app.”

Updated November 17th, 4:36M ET: Added statement from Instagram.

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