Instagram cutting off support to companion app Threads by the end of 2021

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Instagram's standalone messaging app Threads will shut down by the year's end after failing to gain widespread adoption.

Threads was first introduced in 2019 as a companion to Instagram, designed to be a camera-first mobile messaging app. It was initially intended to be used to update your status and send messages to those you'd designated as "Close Friends" on Instagram, though a revamp later made it possible to message everyone.

The app never took off the way the developers had hoped. TechCrunch points out that it's currently ranked at 214 in the Photo & Video category, with a 3.1-star rating across more than 2,500 reviews.

Users will begin receiving an in-app notice on November 23, directing them to return to Instagram if they wish to message their friends. The app will no longer be supported by the end of December 2021.

The move comes shortly after Facebook Inc. had officially changed its name to Meta, which will serve as an umbrella company that controls Facebook and its other businesses.

The rebranding was likely made to help distance the company from Facebook's reputation, after multiple whistleblowers came forward to state that the company values revenue over protecting its users. The whistleblowers claimed that Facebook allowed hate speech and disinformation to run rampant on the platform, and that it knew that its Instagram subsidiary was bad for the mental health of teenagers.

In addition to those whistleblowers, a massive leak of internal documents has prompted a U.S. government investigation of the platform. On October 28, authorities told Facebook staffers to preserve all communications.