Instagram has revealed that its standalone messaging app 'Threads,' which it debuted in 2019 as a Snapchat rival for connecting close friends, is shutting down, which will come as no surprise to anyone.
Thread is a messaging app that was originally meant for keeping in touch with your Instagram inner circle, permitting text, photo, and video sharing among only individuals on your Instagram 'close friends' list, as you may or may not recall. However, in October of last year, Instagram updated Threads to include all of your Instagram messages, not just those from close friends, therefore making it similar to any other messaging service.
The sole difference with Threads now is its 'auto status option, which assigns an emoji status update to each user without them having to manually submit one, by assuming what each user would be up to at any given time based on their location, mobility, phone's battery level, and other factors. So there's no reason for customers to launch a separate messaging app now that all of their Instagram and Messenger discussions are already connected, simplifying connectivity in two of the company's most popular messaging alternatives (which WhatsApp also coming soon). As a result, it makes sense for Instagram to shut down Threads, which the company has now confirmed to TechCrunch following a flurry of online speculation.
Instagram understands how important it is for individuals to interact with their close friends, as evidenced by the growth of Instagram messaging in recent years. They're now concentrating their efforts on improving how you connect with close friends on Instagram and phasing out the Threads app. Instagram also says it plans to extend the 'fun and distinctive features' of Threads to the main Instagram app, which will likely include the auto-status feature in the future.
Instagram is already working on this, according to app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, and while this initial version doesn't signify auto status, that appears to be the direction it's headed, obviating the need for Threads entirely. It's unlikely that many people will miss the app.
Threads received around 374k downloads in its first month, which is significantly lower than Instagram's previous standalone apps, such as IGTV and Boomerang, and a look at the app's performance on the App Annie charts since then suggests that Threads has struggled to gain any significant traction since then. Threads are believed to have fewer than 100,000 users right now, and with Meta wanting to consolidate its messaging choices and allow greater cross-app sharing, Threads' presence runs against the broader emphasis, implying its doom.
Threads will no longer be supported by Instagram by the end of December, according to the company, and users will be notified in the coming weeks. If you're one of the few Threads users, it's time to go back to Instagram or find another way to communicate with your friends (like, say, Snapchat).