The Verge reported in August that Instagram is working on an app for close friends and now that app is finally here. Facebook has launched an app from Instagram and it’s named ‘Threads’. It’s specifically designed to get close friends to stay more connected throughout the day.
In the blog-post announcing the launch of Threads, Robby Stein, Instagram’s Director of Product, said:
“Over the last few years, we’ve introduced several new ways to share visually on Instagram and connect with people you care about… But for your smaller circle of friends, we saw the need to stay more connected throughout the day, so you can communicate what you’re doing and how you’re feeling through photos and videos.”
What exactly is Threads? It’s a standalone app to stay connected with your close friends and it basically has three core features.
The first is the inbox. You have a dedicated inbox for your close friends that you choose from your list of your friends on Instagram. If you haven’t made up a list already, you can easily choose them when you download and set up your Threads app. For many people, that list only contains around 3-6 people. So, you can say it’s a very private space for your messages. And you will have an easier time staying in touch with your closest peeps.
The second one is the camera feature. When you open Threads, it will open up to a camera that you can use to take a photo or record a video. You will have a horizontal list of your friends at the bottom which makes it super-fast for you to share your photos and videos with the person you want. You just capture a photo or video, tap on the profile picture of your friend and then swipe up to send. That’s it. No filters.
The third one is the status. This is what tells your friends what you up to at a certain point in time. You can use different emojis and a short description. You have the option to select some pre-made emoji, create your own or the auto status option. The auto status option is what most of the people are the most concerned about. It will track your every movement and location, then put up a status accordingly without giving away the exact location to your friends. But yes, the app will know your exact location. For example, if you are at a café, the app will know which café you’re at but it will put up a status “☕ At a cafe”.
The privacy concerns are enormous for this because of Facebook’s previous huge privacy scandals. So much so that Instagram put up a separate blog post to tell people exactly what kind of data Threads will collect from you.
“Threads will request your location, movement, battery level and network connection from your phone in order to determine what context to share. For example, Auto Status might use your precise location to show your friends that you’re “At a cafe.” Or Auto Status might detect that you’re biking and set your status to “On the Move.” Before this is enabled, you’ll be told what information Auto Status is requesting and will be asked to specifically agree.”
The post also says that the location is not stored on their servers but instead it is stored on your device for a short period of time.
And if we really think about it, this kind of data is collected by some other messaging apps as well. So, it’s up to you whether you opt-in or not because it heavily depends upon the kind of close friends you have.
Instagram Threads app is now being rolled out globally to all Android and iOS users.