Facebook has opened up its Messenger API for Instagram. This past fall, an initial beta test saw the company grant 30 developers and 700 brands, including companies like Ford and H&M, access to the API. With today's announcement, any developer who wants to start building for the platform can access the tool, with a phased rollout to business accounts to follow. At its simplest, the API allows brands and businesses to access Instagram's messaging tools into their existing service and sales apps, making it easier for their employees to field messages from customers.
This is something the company already allowed businesses to do on Facebook. It's another example of how Facebook is bringing all of its disparate chat apps together. Since the end of last summer, you've been able to opt into Instagram's new messaging experience, allowing you to contact Facebook users who don't have Instagram accounts. It's also a move that sees Facebook further building out Instagram's shopping features. According to the company, 90 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business, and we've seen it lean into that aspect of the platform by introducing features like an in-app shopping cart.