Quick, how many messaging apps does Facebook own? The conventional answer is two: Messenger and WhatsApp. More and more, though, Instagram is lavishing attention on Instagram Direct, its service for privately sending text, photos, and videos to one or more friends. The latest example: The iOS and Android versions of Instagram now integrate the feature they got last November for sending Snapchat-esque disappearing photos and videos into Direct more, well, directly.
Instagram now displays vanishing imagery within the same threads as other types of messages and has made the camera icon more prominent within Direct, including making it immediately accessible from within conversation threads. Even without these new additions, Direct is growing rapidly. Since November, Instagram reports, it's gone from 300 million active users a month to 375 million.