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In an effort to improve connectivity between users, Instagram has launched a shiny new companion app: Threads. Rivalling Snapchat, the messaging platform will allow for more intimate communications between Instagram users, The Verge reports, only allowing content to be shared with those on one’s “close friends” list.

Threads has three main functions: a camera for capturing photos and videos; an inbox reflective of users’ Instagram inboxes, but restricted to close friends only; and a screen on which users can manually update their status or opt for the “auto status” function – this automatically refreshes as it tracks users’ movements.

Similar to Snapchat, Instagram wants to provide a messaging platform through which users feel safe to share intimate information with close friends: Threads is the company’s attempt to create such a space.

One of the perks of Threads, The Verge says, is the ease with which users can take a photo and send it to chosen friends.

The app enables you to create shortcuts for close friends and fix them to the bottom of your camera screen. Once you’ve taken a snap, you can tap and swipe up on their photo, and, just like that, your picture sends.

The controversy lies in the “auto status” function. Unlike Snapchat’s Snap Map, Threads auto status gives your close friends rolling coverage of your whereabouts, using your data to form “context” for statuses. Instagram gives this example: “Auto Status might use your precise location to show your friends that you’re “At a café.””

The concern is that this is a great deal of data to share. Instagram assures it will not store users’ data on its server, only storing information on a user’s device for a limited period.

The company have deemed the app secure enough for a global launch, but it’s always better to protect your devices with reliable gadget insurance.

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