Threads opens directly 0001
Threads opens directly to the camera and allows you to add shortcuts, so you can share what you’re doing in just two taps. Image Credit: Screengrab

Facebook has launched “Threads from Instagram” on Friday (October 4), a new camera-first messaging app that helps you stay connected to your close friends.

The idea behind this, according to Facebook, is meant for a smaller circle of friends of Instagram users.

“We saw the need for Instagram users to stay more connected throughout the day, so you can communicate what you’re doing and how you’re feeling through photos and videos. That’s why we built Threads, a new way to message with close friends in a dedicated, private space,” Instagram stated in a tweet.

New app launched by Facebook
New app launched by Facebook Image Credit: Screengrab

“Over the last few years, we’ve introduced several new ways to share visually on Instagram and connect with people you care about — from sharing everyday moments on Stories to visual messages on Direct.”

Threads is a standalone app designed with privacy, speed, and your close connections in mind. You can share photos, videos, messages, Stories, and more with your Instagram close friends list.

“This way you are in control of who can reach you on Threads, and you can customize the experience around the people who matter most,” read an explainer by Instagram.

Samuel Turner, 28, Managing Director, Those Social Guys commented: “Threads is a camera-first messaging app. It's designed for Instagram, and seems to be focussed on connecting friends/groups like Facebook wants to focus on in the future. It seems to be another move by Facebook designed to directly compete with Snapchat, as Stories was before this.”

“We know that they have 'Lasso' in the pipeline, a Tik-Tok competitor, so it seems Facebook is going after all the competitors it can pretty ruthlessly,” he added.

Message only your close friends

Last year, Facebook introduced Close Friends, for sharing more personal moments with a select group of people you choose.

Threads opens directly 0001
Threads opens directly to the camera and allows you to add shortcuts, so you can share what you’re doing in just two taps. Image Credit: Screengrab

“Now, you can use Threads to message those people on your Instagram close friends list and you’ll have a dedicated inbox and notifications just for them. If you don’t have a list set up yet, you can make one directly from Threads when you download the app,” read the tweet.

How it works

Threads opens directly to the camera and allows you to add shortcuts, so you can share what you’re doing in just two taps.

Set your status and see what your friends’ status

You can choose from a suggested status (Studying), create your own (Procrastinating), or turn on Auto Status (On the move), which automatically shares little bits of context on where you are without giving away your coordinates.

Only your close friends will see your status, and it’s completely opt-in.

Status was created with user privacy in mind, it stated.

Privacy setting on Threads

If a user enables Auto Status, Threads will request your user location, movement, battery level and network connection from your phone in order to determine what context to share.

For example, Auto Status might use your precise location to show your friends that you’re “At a cafe.”

Or "Auto Status" might detect that you’re biking and set your status to “On the Move.”

Before this is enabled, you’ll be told what information Auto Status is requesting and will be asked to specifically agree.

Auto Status will not share your precise location with your friends, and when Threads sends location information to Facebook's server to look up locations, it’s not stored there.

Facebook claims a user's location information is only stored on your device for a limited time. It is also deleted if you remove Threads.

"The way we use data from other parts of Facebook and Instagram to deliver relevant ads to you remains the same. Precise location information collected for Auto Status is a new feature specific to Threads and will not be used for ads," it added.

Who sees all information and activity?

Threads is for connecting with your close friends list on Instagram, which you control. Your conversations are between you and the people you’re talking to, and only your close friends will see your status.

As with the main Instagram app, you can easily and anonymously report any message you feel violates our Community Guidelines.

"We also have resources for parents that highlight some of the tools we have in place to keep teens safe. We’re committed to protecting people’s well-being and privacy, so people can feel comfortable connecting with their close friends," the social networking giant said.