Facebook Messenger and Instagram add BTS theme and Watch Together feature
Facebook Messenger and Instagram have extended the scope of their newly joined-up messaging service with some new features, including one involving South Korean boy-band sensation BTS (for our regular readers, that’s the band providing the song for the current global Samsung Galaxy S20 FE advertisement).
First up, according to Facebook’s newsroom, (if you’re just here to read about BTS, you’ll have to wait) is Watch Together. In line with a number of streaming services who have added similar functionality during 2020, this feature lets you watch streaming content at the same time as your friends. Just start a video call, o,r open a new chat room. Once everyone is ready, you’ll find “Watch Together” as an option in the TV & Movies tab of Instagram. Two new shows have been added as part of the launch – ‘Post Malone’s Celebrity World Pong League’ (the ‘pong’ in question is actually beer-pong, by the way) and ‘Here for It with Avani Gregg’. You don’t have to watch them though, all available content works with Watch Together.
The second feature (BTS army, stand by) is ‘Chat Themes’, which lets you personalise your conversations. As well as a range of stock themes, there are some special editions too, including TinyTAN, a theme based around adorable little animated avatars of the seven members of BTS. We’re aware that a lot of our readers will be underwhelmed by this, so let us assure you there are plenty more non-boy-band options available in Messenger and Instagram. To use themes, go into chat settings, tap Theme, and find the one you want – BTS or otherwise.
Both those features are available now, but there’s also a third announcement coming soon, that we trailed recently. Vanish Mode is an option that brings disappearing chats to the Instagram/Messenger canon. When activated, anything you say won’t be recorded in your chat history and will be scrubbed as soon as you leave the chat. You can toggle between modes without leaving the chat – swipe up once to toggle on, swipe up again for off.
In order to ensure that Vanish Mode is being used properly, it will be limited to people who are either following each other on Instagram or are connected in Messenger. If someone screenshots the chat when you’re in Vanish Mode, everyone else will be informed that the chat is no longer off the record.
Vanish Mode is available now on Messenger in the US, with Instagram coming soon. European countries will start to see it soon, though in all cases you’ll need to upgrade to the new Messenger experience on Instagram.