Privacy Matters: Cross-App Communication for Instagram and Messenger

By Nate Cardozo, Privacy Policy Manager

Update on April 25, 2024 at 9:00AM PT: 

The content of this article is now outdated and no longer fully accurate. For information regarding cross-app communication, see here. For information regarding the privacy of your personal messages see here.

Originally published on September 30, 2020 at 5:00AM PT:

Today, we updated Instagram and Messenger to make it easier for people to connect and share across both — because messaging should be fast, reliable and fun no matter what app you use.

Who sees my information and activity?

With this update, you can now search for accounts across Instagram and Messenger. Just as before, search results will show an account’s username or name and basic profile information for all accounts, both public and private. Posts by private accounts will continue to only be visible to friends or followers. We will continue to respect your existing privacy settings, and private accounts will work the same way they do today. 

Screenshot: "A New Way to Message on Instagram"

How will this impact data collection and the ads I see?

As with other parts of Facebook, we collect information from Instagram and Messenger primarily to provide the service, improve the product experience, and keep people safe and secure. We don’t use the content of messages between people on Messenger and Instagram for ad targeting, which means advertisers can’t target you based on what you say in messages. We’re always improving our processes for monitoring and verifying how we use data. Visit our privacy policy to learn more about how we collect and use information from Instagram and Messenger.

What choices and controls do I have?

You don’t need a Facebook account to use the new Messenger experience on Instagram or to message across apps. People who use Messenger, as well as people new to Instagram, will automatically get the new messaging experience.

With this update, you will have more control over who can reach you and how. The new privacy settings will let you decide who reaches your Chats list, who goes to your Message Request folder, and who can’t message or call you at all. For example, someone on Instagram can choose not to receive messages from people on Facebook. And if you add your accounts to the new Accounts Center, it’s even easier to manage who can reach you across apps.

Screenshots of Message Controls

To keep people safe, we provide a variety of tools that help you understand what you’re seeing and give you controls to respond to issues you may encounter. Safety notices in Messenger help you spot and respond to suspicious activity. These notices are coming to Instagram soon, and we’ll roll them out first to minors. If you feel uncomfortable in a chat, you can always report or block someone, whether you are on Messenger, Instagram or communicating across apps. When you report something, we will review it and take action according to our Community Standards. When you block an account, this only applies to the account on that platform and doesn’t block all accounts that a person may have on Instagram or Facebook. If you add your Instagram and Facebook accounts to the Accounts Center, you’ll see suggestions for accounts you may want to block based on accounts you have already blocked. For example, if you’re contacted by an account that is blocked from contacting another account in your Accounts Center, that message will be automatically placed in your spam. 

Cross-app communication is an easier way to stay connected with the people you care about, while giving you controls to manage your experience.

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