Facebook is reportedly developing a new app called Threads, built on top of Instagram, which is designed to help share data between close personal friends.
News of the existence of the app was revealed by The Verge, which said that the app is being tested internally at Facebook, and is built on the ‘close friends’ feature that Instagram introduced last year.
Close friends essentially allows Instagram users to specify a subset of their followers with whom they are comfortable sharing more intimate posts and stories.
The Verge describes the Threads app as a companion app to Instagram, and it “invites users to automatically share their location, speed, and battery life with friends, along with more typical text, photo, and video messages using Instagram’s creative tools.”
Instagram reportedly declined to comment on the media report.
But according to the Verge, which has reviewed screenshots of Threads, the app is “designed to promote constant, automatic sharing between users and the people on their ‘close friends’ list on Instagram.”
When a user opts to automatically share information, Threads will regularly update the user’s status, giving friends a real-time view of information about the user’s location, speed, and more.
At the moment, Threads does not display real-time location, but instead says something like a friend is “on the move,” sources familiar with the matter told the tech website.
The user’s status can also be manually updated.
Facebook has reportedly been after popular photo messaging service Snapchat for a while now.
Prior to that, Facebook had made other approaches to Snapchat, and reportedly offered around $1 billion to purchase it. Snapchat is now said to be worth $22 billion.
Snapchat was developed in 2011 by a group of Stanford University students. Essentially, it allows users to take photos and record videos that will be deleted several seconds after they have been viewed by the recipient.
Facebook is said to have long coveted Snapchat’s strong engagement among younger users. The Threads app could represent its latest effort to chip away at its rival’s appeal.
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