Instagram is reportedly testing the ability to send and receive direct messages through its website on mobile and desktop devices. Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong first spotted the apparent internal test of the feature, which showed up shortly after reports that Facebook intended to unify its many messaging apps. Engadget has reached out to Instagram for more information regarding web and desktop direct messaging and we will update the story if we hear back.
Instagram is testing Direct on Web pic.twitter.com/bpdY9bep24— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 12, 2019
Instagram's Direct on Web will also be available on desktop pic.twitter.com/Y3iTIdDwKV— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 12, 2019
At the moment, direct messaging is a feature that is locked into Instagram's mobile app for Android and iOS. No part of the feature, including sending a post directly to another user, is available on through its website experience. The test feature spotted by Wong added a direct message icon to the menu bar on the web, which would enable users to view, respond to and send new DMs.
Companies test new products and features all the time, so there is no guarantee that desktop direct messages will roll out to users any time soon. However, given the recent reports of Facebook's interest in restructuring its messaging services to allow cross-platform messaging between Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, it's hard to imagine that this test wouldn't factor into those plans.