Instagram unveiled a brand “new camera-first” messaging app this week. The new service is designed to keep you in contact with your closest friends and is Facebooks latest attempt at trying to take down Snapchat, while proving its got your privacy as a first priority.
One of the biggest new features ‘Threads’ introduces to the social user experience is a feature called ‘Auto-updates’. If enabled it will share what you’re doing in real-time as a status using data-based predictions on your location, accelerometer and your phone’s battery level. For example, it can tell when you’re home, if you’re charging your phone and knows the difference between when you are riding a bike or driving a car.
It’s supposed to help your friends know what you are doing so they would know if you are going to take longer to reply or are available to chat. The app does leave out an exact map or location, but if someone is a close friend they likely know where you live anyway. While for the most of us it’s a fun feature to maybe try out, its no doubt going to get a few people caught out in lies. As with anything though for a small few this feature has the potential to be used in malicious ways such as those in controlling relationships.
Unlike its other platforms, Instagram, Messenger, Facebook and soon to be WhatsApp in 2020, there is no advertising planned on Streams app currently. Facebook say “We built Threads with privacy in mind, so that you can feel comfortable using the app to communicate with your close friends.” However they also let us know that Messages sent via ‘Threads’ are not encrypted.
While the company is in a phase of trying to become “Privacy-focused” it’s navigating a rough path asking users to share more personal details and give more access to their data, but it may be that Facebook is trying to prove it can offer services while not making you feel like you are being sold to.