Facebook is planning to merge the messaging services of its three biggest apps — WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger — according to a New York Times report.
The 3 applications will continue working as standalone apps, but their messaging services will be integrated, in a move ordered by Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.
The move will require Facebook employees to reconfigure WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger at the most basic level, and work on it has just begun. The integration of the 3 messaging services is not expected to be completed before 2020.
The scandal-hit company has decided to include end-to-end encryption for all the apps, which is an important privacy concern. This enables only the participants of a conversation to view the message.
It is unclear why Mr. Zuckerberg has ordered the integration, although there is much speculation behind the reason. Some have claimed that Zuckerberg wants to keep the billions of users within the Facebook ecoystem, and further challenge rival messaging services from Apple and Google. More interactions within the Facebook ecosystem means that the company will be able to build up its advertising business.
Facebook’s reputation has been damaged in recent years because of allegations that the company has allowed the spread of disinformation as well as allowed election meddling in the US. This has caused the company’s growth to slow and raised calls for more regulations of the company around the world.
The move is in stark contrast to Facebook’s original plan of allowing freedom to WhatsApp and Instagram, and letting them grow independent of Facebook. However, WhatsApp and Instagram’s growth has been so rapid that Mr. Zuckerberg is convinced that utilizing the two apps is essential for Facebook.