A lot of Instagram's functions are only available on its main app, with its web and desktop versions having limited features. For starters, uploading images and Stories is only possible through the mobile app.
However, recent reports say that Instagram is now testing Direct messages on web browsers for mobile and desktop.
Direct Messages For Web
Jane Manchun Wong, a reverse-engineering specialist, revealed to TechCrunch that Instagram is currently conducting an internal test for the web version of Direct messaging.
In a screenshot Wong provided, the Instagram for web version shows an arrow at the upper right area of the page. This arrow is obviously the Direct messages icon that's also in the main Instagram app. The feature's web version is very similar to the app — tapping it will redirect to a list of messages and will allow users to view, compose, or reply to a message.
Instagram's Direct on Web will also be available on desktop pic.twitter.com/Y3iTIdDwKV — Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 12, 2019
According to her, the feature is currently only available to Instagram employees, which is typical before a feature or a product launches on a certain platform. This is to help identify potential bugs and to work on improvements before it eventually rolls out to all users.
As of writing, Instagram already cut off Wong's access to Direct messages for web.
Part Of Facebook's Merger Plan?
Instagram testing the Direct messages for web could be possibly part of Facebook merger plans. The company has expressed its desire to combine platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, which will allow cross-platform messaging in the future.
Facebook's plan immediately received backlash from security experts and lawmakers, particularly pointing out possible privacy and anti-trust issues that the merger could cause in the long run.
In its defense, Facebook said that when the merger pushes through, end-to end encryption will be available in all platforms involved. Currently, among the apps in the planned merger, only WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption.
This assurance didn't seem to pacify others, though, as there's a possibility that the merger might weaken the end-to-end encryption that's already available in WhatsApp.