In a significant move, Meta has announced its decision to discontinue the cross-platform chat feature that allows users to communicate between Facebook and Instagram. This feature, introduced in 2020, enabled seamless messaging between the two platforms, but starting mid-December 2023, it will no longer be available.
The integration, first announced in 2019 and launched a year later, was an optional feature aimed at enhancing user experience by merging the messaging capabilities of Facebook and Instagram. Loredena Crisan, Messenger VP, compared it to the interoperability between email services like Gmail and Yahoo, suggesting a similar ease of communication across Meta’s platforms.
However, Meta has not explicitly stated the reason for this reversal. Speculation from sources like 9to5Google suggests that regulatory concerns, particularly in the European Union (EU), might be the driving factor behind this decision. The EU’s Digital Markets Act, passed in 2022, imposes strict regulations to prevent dominant platforms from exploiting their market position. Under this act, companies exceeding a certain revenue threshold and deemed overly dominant by the European Commission could face penalties up to 10% of their total global turnover from the previous year.
As mid-December 2023 approaches, users will experience several changes. Firstly, initiating new chats or calls with Facebook friends from Instagram will no longer be possible. Existing conversations with Facebook accounts on Instagram will become read-only. Furthermore, Facebook accounts will lose the ability to see activity statuses or view read receipts on Instagram. Lastly, existing chats with Facebook accounts will not be transferred to the inbox of either platform.
This move by Meta may be a strategic decision to avoid potential regulatory repercussions, especially considering the EU’s stringent approach towards digital market monopolies. While this may be a setback for users who enjoyed the integrated messaging experience, it highlights the evolving landscape of digital communication and the increasing influence of regulatory bodies in shaping how tech giants operate.