Digital Deep Dive: Instagram Messaging App, Messenger Broadcast & More

The online landscape is ever-changing. New devices, platforms and features are introduced on what feels like a daily basis. We’ve put together a roundup of five of this week’s biggest stories to help you stay ahead of the curve!

Instagram tests a standalone app for direct messaging

Instagram has revealed that it is currently testing a standalone Instagram Direct app. Upon its global launch next year, the app will allow users to create and share private stories.

Hemal Shah, an Instagram Product Manager said: “We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is a big part of that. To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are beginning to test Direct — a camera-first app that connects seamlessly back to Instagram.”

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Facebook launches ‘Did You Know’ social questionnaire

Facebook has launched a new feature that encourages users to answer questions about themselves to clue friends into various secrets, dreams, goals and feelings.

In recent times, users have backed away from sharing statuses, focusing more on articles, videos and photos. This feature aims to offer an alternative by giving users the opportunity to answer questions about themselves more directly.

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Instagram adds new feature for archiving and highlighting expired Stories

Instagram has launched its own version of Snapchat’s Memories, available globally on both iOS and Android. The new feature gives not allows users to archive Stories privately before they disappear, but also gives them the ability to create Stories Highlights, which are named collections of past Stories that show up in a new horizontal bar at the top of user profiles.

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Facebook prototypes Messenger Broadcast for businesses

Facebook is carrying out internal testing of Messenger Broadcast, a new self-serve mass-messaging interface that allows businesses send marketing messages to users. The functionality is currently unclear, but the feature would offer businesses a new way to reach customers on the platform.

A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch: “We often test products, features and ideas and are always exploring new ways to make it easier for businesses to deliver great experiences to their customers. Once we’ve tested them internally we make a call as to whether or not to ultimately release them. As such we don’t comment on unreleased features.”

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Facebook adds support for live streaming and video chats to Messenger games

Facebook has announced some new features for Instant Games, its Messenger-based gaming platform, to mark its one-year anniversary. These include video chat, allowing users to chat while gaming, and live streaming, giving users the option to broadcast their gameplay to their Facebook Page or profile.

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