Instagram is prototyping a feature that would let people send disappearing messages, similar to its existing feature that lets people send disappearing photos in chat.
Instagram has copied a number of features from Snapchat over the years, the most popular and impactful one being, of course, Instagram Stories. The company could now be copying yet another feature from Snapchat.
According to code discovered in the Android app by reverse engineering specialist Jane Manchun Wong (via TechCrunch), Instagram seems to be working on ephemeral messages for Instagram Direct, a popular feature on Snapchat where messages in a conversation disappear after you open a thread.
Instagram is working on “? mode” where messages disappear
It seems to be in an early barebone version but I tried my best to demonstrate how it might work pic.twitter.com/ZrUZZj0TWo
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 19, 2020
Wong demonstrated that the feature works when Instagram users enter a dark mode messaging window from an Instagram Direct message thread. When that dark mode chat window is closed, the message sent in that mode vanishes.
The Facebook-owned company confirmed Wong’s discovery in a statement.
“We’re always exploring new features to improve your messaging experience,” Instagram said. “This feature is still in early development and not testing externally just yet.”
The feature is largely similar to Snapchat, which erases conversations after all members of the thread have read them and have closed the chat window. This might appeal to users who don’t like having their conversations recorded or stored somewhere to be used against them in the future.