Facebook to let users make group chats across Instagram, Messenger

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Facebook will now let you start cross-app group chats between Messenger and Instagram, the company announced Thursday. The update is a big step forward in Facebook’s ambitions to make its apps work better with each other. To be able to use the cross-app communications, you’ll have to opt-in, and Facebook says that “over 70% of eligible people on Instagram have updated to the new Messenger experience.”

The company is bringing other new features to the messaging apps in addition to cross-app group messaging. Polls will be available in group DMs on Instagram and in cross-app chats so you can, for example, vote on where to grab lunch. Facebook has added group typing indicators to Messenger, so you can see when multiple people are drafting a message. (It’s unclear from Facebook’s blog post if group typing indicators are coming to Instagram as well, but I’ve asked the company to clarify that.) And you can now use Facebook’s Watch Together feature to watch videos from your Instagram feed with your friends.

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Facebook is also adding new chat themes to Messenger, including a “cottagecore” theme, one inspired by J Balvin’s latest album, and an astrology theme.

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