Instagram, under the umbrella of Meta, has made a significant move to enhance user privacy by testing a feature that allows users to disable read receipts in direct messages (DMs).
This change means that when this feature is rolled out, recipients will no longer be able to discern whether their messages have been read, as the familiar ‘seen’ label will be eliminated. While the feature is currently in testing, Instagram has yet to reveal its full rollout plan. The reactions to this development have been mixed, with some celebrating it as a much-needed addition while others remain unexcited.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram head Adam Mosseri made this announcement via their Instagram broadcast channels. Mosseri stated that they had listened to user feedback and initiated trials for the new feature, which grants users the ability to deactivate read receipts in their DMs.
The feature will give users the choice to determine when others can see if they’ve read their messages. However, the timeframe for this change’s implementation and whether it will be introduced simultaneously to all users remains unspecified.
Users will have the option to toggle read receipts on or off within the Privacy and Safety settings under the ‘Who can see your activity’ section. Nevertheless, Instagram has not confirmed whether this feature will eventually extend to Facebook Messenger, another platform owned by Meta.
WhatsApp, also owned by Meta, has offered the option to disable read receipts since 2014 and plans to introduce default end-to-end encryption for Instagram DMs after completing its integration in Messenger.
Divided Social Media Reaction to Instagram’s Move
The Instagram community’s reaction to this upcoming feature has been split. While some users celebrate it as a “much-needed feature,” others have expressed disappointment, with one user even calling it “no fun.” On social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter), many users have welcomed the announcement, with some expressing relief at the change and calling it “better late than never.” They view this feature as a way to grant users more control over their message statuses.
However, not everyone is enthusiastic about the change. A few users lament the loss of their ability to track whether someone has read their messages, with some commenting humorously on the fact that now they won’t be able to tell when they’re being ignored. Amidst this mixed reaction, Instagram users remain curious about when the feature will be officially implemented.
A Meta-Wide Shift Toward Enhanced Privacy
Meta’s move to allow users to disable read receipts in Instagram DMs aligns with its broader strategy to enhance user privacy and control across its platforms. Earlier, Meta announced plans to introduce default end-to-end encryption for Messenger by early 2024, extending its privacy-focused measures to its other messaging apps.
This shift underscores the company’s commitment to protecting user data and ensuring a secure and private messaging experience across its various platforms. Whether this feature will make its way into Facebook Messenger remains to be seen, as Instagram continues to test this much-anticipated change for its users.