Popular photo-sharing app Instagram is working on a new messaging platform called Threads, in what is seen as another attempt by a Facebook-owned property to challenge Snapchat.
According to The Verge, Threads is “meant to promote constant, intimate sharing between users and their closest friends.” Users will be invited to automatically share their location, speed and battery life with friends as well as more traditional text, photo and video messaging.
Facebook have long envied Snapchat for its strong user-engagement rate and popularity with young people. A service which enables users to see friend’s real-time location and to send messages privately will certainly threaten Snapchat.
In 2013 they tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in cash. Co-Founder Evan Spiegel rejected the offer, telling Forbes that “there are very few people in the world who get to build a business like this. I think trading that for some short-term gain isn’t very interesting.”
A variety of controversies have caused Facebook’s pivot to prioritise privacy; from a $5 billion fine for misuse and mis-collection of user data, to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to more serious concerns around the use of the platform during the Rohingya crisis in Burma last year.
Instagram has not commented on the leak of Threads and it is not clear exactly when the service will launch.
A Facebook-owned private messaging service will one day see the light however, this Spring CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his view that private messaging is the future of the company.