Facebook has been in the middle of reimagining the way that messaging works across and between the company's platforms. In addition to introducing encrypted messaging across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, the company has been looking to introduce other features to the company's offerings. One of those new features, which is available in other messaging platforms, might be disappearing messages for Instagram.
Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong discovered in the code for Instagram's Android app revealing an in-progress feature denoted by the "speak no evil" emoji. This feature, according to Wong, features disappearing messages, similar to Snapchat. In the case of Instagram's feature, this "dark mode" messaging will clear the messages when the chat is closed. The company's communications office responded to the tweet, ci=onfirming the feature,
We're always exploring new features to improve your messaging experience. This feature is still in early development and not testing externally just yet!
While we know that the feature is currently in development, it doesn't mean that it will ever see the light of day. Facebook and its subsidiaries build features that are scrapped all the time, and this might be one of those features. This does seem like something that will be implemented eventually, however. We also don't know what "disappearing" actually means - is it just in the client, or does Instagram purge the messages from its servers as well?
This is not Facebook's first foray into the disappearing messaging game. In 2014, Facebook tried to purchase Snapchat for $3 billion (three times the price for Instagram). When the offer was rejected, Facebook built its own version of the platform called Slingshot. If you don't remember Slingshot, that's okay - the platform never gained any traction and was shut down the next year. Facebook has successfully stolen other Snapchat features over the years, however, like Stories.
Disappearing messages are becoming a more popular feature across messaging platforms right now. Twitter has been experimenting with the concept as well, though in a more Twitter style. The experimental feature lets posts, photos, and videos disappear after 24 hours, similar to the Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram Stores concept.