Facebook Integrating Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is reportedly planning on integrating its various messaging platforms — Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, a move that’s going to raise a lot of eyebrows and make existing users uncomfortable. Mark Zuckerberg is not planning on integrating these three messaging apps into one. Instead, he is planning on unifying the underlying infrastructure across the three platforms.  

The move will require Facebook employees to reconfigure and re-engineer the very core of Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The company is still in the early stages of planning and development and plans to complete this move by the end of this year or by early 2020.

The move, described by four people involved in the effort, requires thousands of Facebook employees to reconfigure how WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger function at their most basic levels. While all three services will continue operating as stand-alone apps, their underlying messaging infrastructure will be unified, the people said.

On the bright side, Zuckerberg has also ordered engineers to ensure end-to-end encryption is added to all the three messaging platforms. The move will mean that a Facebook Messenger user would be able to send an encrypted message to a WhatsApp or Instagram user.

Facebook has seemingly confirmed the move in its statement to NY Times: 

In a statement, Facebook said it wanted to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.” It added: “We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”

The move has met with some resistance inside Facebook. A number of WhatsApp employees clashed with Zuckerberg in internal meetings and message boards in December last year. Many employees were not satisfied with the reasoning from Zuckerberg on merging the three services. This has also led to many employees leaving the company.

By merging the infrastructure of the three apps into one, Zuckerberg is looking at reducing the engineering effort required to keep three popular messaging apps running properly. The move will also ensure the quick and speedy rollout of similar features across all three platforms along with higher ad revenue for the company. However, the move will definitely come under scrutiny for privacy concerns. Facebook might use the unified infrastructure to share user data across the three platforms which many users are not going to be comfortable with.

Facebook had acquired Instagram and WhatsApp in multi-billion dollar deals over the last decade. When it acquired WhatsApp in 2014, its co-founder made it clear that WhatsApp would not be compromising on user privacy in any way. With the messaging app co-founders leaving Facebook, Zuckerberg can now do whatever he wants to.

What do you think about Facebook merging the infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger into one?

[Via NY Times]