Instagram is closing Direct, its separate messaging app

Instagram is closing Direct, its separate messaging app

Instagram's standalone messaging app is being shut down after less than two years.

The app, called, simply called Direct, served as a place to message friends and followers outside of Instagram's main platform.

Social media commentator Matt Navarra spotted the news and tweeted about the closure. A message inside the app alerted users that it would be closed within the next month.

Direct launched back in December 2017. It aimed to operate more like Snapchat - a basic messaging app with a camera function. Of course, Instagram's main app also now has a direct messaging feature with all of the same functions, which makes Direct a little redundant.

A quick death

Instagram is yet to comment on why it's killing the Direct app. According to The Verge, a spokesperson for the company said it was “rolling back the test of the standalone Direct app” and is “focused on continuing to make Instagram Direct the best place for fun conversations with your friends.”

According to SensorTower, Direct recently hit 1.35 million installs. Almost all of those downloads took place in Turkey and Italy, with 567,000 and 500,000 in each country respectively. The app appeared to not resonate in western territories.

At the start of 2019, Facebook unveiled plans to eventually integrate all of its social platforms. The platforms themselves will remain separate on the user-end but plans to join the underlying infrastructure of the apps are still afoot.

This move would allow users across all of Facebook's sites to communicate with each other, despite being in separate apps.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.