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Facebook is seemingly working on a new messaging app called Threads that would help users to share their photos, videos, location, speed, and battery life with only their close friends, The Verge reported earlier this week. This means users can selectively share content with their friends while not revealing to others the list of close friends with whom the content is shared.

The app currently does not display the real-time location but it might notify by stating that a friend is “on the move” as per the report by The Verge.

How do Threads work?

As per the report by The Verge,  Threads app appears to be similar to the existing messaging product inside the Instagram app. It seems to be an extension of the ‘Close friends’ feature for Instagram stories where users can create a list of close friends and make their stories just visible to them. 

With Threads, users who have opted-in for ‘automatic sharing’ of updates will be able to regularly show their status updates and real-time information  in the main feed to their close friends.. The auto-sharing of statuses will be done using the mobile phone sensors. 

Also, the messages coming from your friends would appear in a central feed, with a green dot that will indicate which of your friends are currently active/online. If a friend has posted a story recently on Instagram, you will be able to see it even from Threads app. It also features a camera, which can be used to capture photos and videos and send them to close friends. While Threads are currently being tested internally at Facebook, there is no clarity about the launch of Threads.

Direct’s revamped version or Snapchat’s potential competitor?

With Threads, if Instagram manages to create a niche around the ‘close friends’, it might shift a significant proportion of Snapchat’s users to its platform. 

In 2017, the team had experimented with Direct, a standalone camera messaging app, which had many filters that were similar to Snapchat. But this year in May, the company announced that they will no longer be supporting Direct. Threads look like a Facebook’s second attempt to compete with Snapchat.

Threads app focus on strengthening the ‘close friends’ relationships might promote more of personal data sharing including even location and battery life. This begs the question:

Is our content really safe?

Just three months ago, Instagram was in the news for exposing personal data of millions of influencers online. The exposed data included contact information of Instagram influencers, brands and celebrities

According to Instagram’s current Terms of Use, it does not get ownership over the information shared on it. But here’s the catch, it also states that it has the right to host, use, distribute, run, modify, copy, publicly perform or translate, display, and create derivative works of user content as per the user’s privacy settings. In essence, the platform has a right to use the content we post. 

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