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Facebook is unveiling some massive changes to Instagram this week.

The tech giant’s new cross-platform messaging feature lets Instagram users message friends on Facebook without even having a Facebook account. As well, new chat modes and themes let users customize their DMs like never before.

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Facebook’s latest move is the first step in its plans to integrate Instagram, and eventually WhatsApp, together for easier user experience. The company announced on Wednesday that it is rolling out new functionality that allows Instagram and Messenger users to communicate across apps through calls and messages.

On Instagram, users will be given an option to update to a new messaging experience. The latest function lets users change their chat colors, react with any emoji, set messages to disappear, watch videos together and more. As well, they’ll also have the option to chat with friends who use Facebook.

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[Photo via Instagram]
There’s also an expansive set of privacy tools with this new feature. Users can now screen individuals that try to contact them through Instagram. They can specify who can reach their main chats, who needs to send a message request, and who can’t reach them at all. As well, if an Instagram user doesn’t want to chat with anyone from Facebook, they can opt-out of this feature.

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[Photo via Instagram]
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“Vanish mode” which makes DMs disappear, just like Snapchat, can be accessed through Instagram’s new Account Center. To give your DMs a theme, head into a chat window and tap the information icon in the upper right-hand corner. Under Chat Settings, you’ll see the Theme option. Once that has been opened, you can scroll through a selection of colors to change the way your messages look.

There are various themes available including “Pride,” “Love” and “Tie-Dye.” Different themes can be applied to different chat messages, similar to what is currently available on WhatsApp.

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[Photo via Instagram]
CNN predicts that this new effort could “cement Facebook’s dominance over the messaging markets” for years to come. With this new feature, users can reach their friends and family across two of the largest social media platforms. So, it’s likely that some could leave old chat apps behind, locking users further into Facebook’s universe.

Instagram is currently testing these new features in select countries, but they are rolling out globally sometime soon. Facebook has not revealed when it will begin integrating Whatsapp into its new plans.

All of Facebook’s new features for Instagram are available to read about here.

What are your thoughts on the new Instagram features? Let us know in the comments below.