The photo sharing app launched Threads as a standalone messaging app in 2019, shortly after its other standalone messaging app, Direct, was shut down.
But now, Instagram has announced that by the end of 2021, the messaging app will no longer exist.
Instagram is planning to alert its existing Threads users with an in-app notice beginning on November 23, which will direct them to return to Instagram to message their friends going forward.
Threads was built as a “camera-first” mobile messenger that was designed to be used for posting status updates and staying in touch with those you designated as your friends on Instagram.
But the app didn’t gain mainstream adoption, and failed to take off.
Instead, Instagram’s parent company, Meta, made Facebook’s standalone messaging app, Messenger, interoperable with Instagram, meaning that Instagram users could message friends on Facebook and vice versa.
The updates included a host of new features as well, like ways to co-watch videos, react with emoji, change the chat colour and more.
And in the future, Meta wants to integrate its other major app, WhatsApp, into the same mix.
An Instagram spokesperson said of the decision to close Threads: “We know that people care about connecting with their close friends, and we’ve seen this particularly over the past few years with the growth of messaging on Instagram. We’re now focusing our efforts on enhancing how you connect with close friends on Instagram, and deprecating the Threads app.
“We’re bringing the fun and unique features we had on Threads to the main Instagram app, and continuing to build ways people can better connect with their close friends on Instagram. We hope this makes it easier for people to have all these features and abilities in the main app.”