In a move towards enhancing user privacy, Instagram has initiated tests for a new feature that will allow users to turn off read receipts in direct messages (DMs). This anticipated update will enable users to choose if they want others to see when they’ve read a message, without displaying the “seen” label.
Instagram chiefs Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Mosseri announced this update, highlighting their response to user feedback. Mosseri shared a glimpse of the upcoming feature, revealing the “Privacy & Safety” menu within direct messages. Users participating in the test phase will find an option to toggle off read receipts under the “Who can see your activity” section.
However, Meta has not provided specific details on the breadth of the testing phase or the feature’s full release timeline. This update comes notably later than similar functionality offered by WhatsApp, another app under the Meta umbrella, which introduced the ability to turn off read receipts back in 2014.
In parallel, Meta is working on implementing default end-to-end encryption for Instagram DMs, a project nearing completion for Messenger, with a targeted completion by year-end.
For marketers, this development in Instagram’s features is noteworthy. It signals a growing emphasis on user privacy and personalization in social media platforms. This change might affect how brands and influencers engage with their audience via DMs, emphasizing more consent-based and privacy-conscious communication strategies. It also suggests an evolving social media landscape where user preferences and data security are becoming increasingly paramount.
The introduction of read receipt controls on Instagram reflects a broader trend towards greater user control over their online interactions. For businesses and marketers leveraging Instagram for customer engagement, adapting to these privacy-centric features will be crucial in maintaining effective and respectful communication channels. As platforms evolve to prioritize user privacy, marketers must also evolve, ensuring that their strategies align with both the technological changes and the expectations of their audience.