Meta is testing messaging capabilities for Threads, but don’t call them DMs

As Threads has grown to more than 130 million users, one of the major remaining “missing” features users often complain about is the lack of direct messaging abilities. But those missing out on DMs may soon have a new option to message other Threads users.

Meta is starting messaging features that rely on Instagram’s inbox but allow new messages to be initiated from the Threads app. The feature has begun for some Threads users, who report seeing a “message” button atop other users’ profiles where the “mention” feature used to be. A Meta spokesperson confirmed the change, saying the company was “testing the ability to send a message from Threads to Instagram.”

Of note, Threads still doesn’t have its own inbox, and it’s not clear if it ever will. Instagram head Adam Mosseri has said multiple times that he doesn’t want to create a for Threads, but “make the Instagram inbox work” in the app. A Meta spokesperson further confirmed that “this is not a test of DMs on Threads.”

But even though it’s not a full-fledged DM feature, the ability to send a message from the Threads app without having to switch to Instagram could at least make messaging from Threads a little less clunky. Actually checking or replying to those messages, though, will still require users to head to the Instagram app.

That may still seem like an entirely unnecessary step, but Mosseri has pointed out that building two versions of the same inbox could easily get complicated. “If, in the end, we can’t make the Instagram inbox work for Threads, we’ll have a hard choice to make between (1) mirroring the Instagram inbox in Threads and dealing with notification routing weirdness, and (2) building a totally separate Threads inbox and dealing with the fact that you’ll have two redundant message threads with each of your friends with the same handles in two different apps,” he wrote in in November. “Neither seems great.”

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