According to the New York Times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to merge his three most popular platform; Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
This is both a move to assert his control over the company’s divisions and also to find a way to share data.
New York Times reports that according to sources; “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. Facebook is still in the early stages of the work and plans to complete it by the end of this year or in early 2020,”
Also, WhatsApp’s end to end encryption will also be incorporated into Messenger and Instagram. This will also make messaging across platforms possible as Facebook messenger user can send a message to a WhatsApp user (who doesn’t own a messenger account).
This move will also make it possible for Facebook “to build up its advertising business or add new services to make money, matching Facebook and Instagram users to their WhatsApp handles could give pause to those who prefer keeping their use of each app compartmentalized.”
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.”
Instagram and WhatsApp were independent platforms purchased by Facebook and by knitting them together, all users will remain within the Facebook ecosystem.
“As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work,” Facebook said in a statement.
This move has not sat well with WhatsApp employees who are concerned. The NYT also reports that “On Dec. 7, employees gathered around microphones at WhatsApp’s offices to ask Mr. Zuckerberg why he was so invested in merging the services. Some said his answers were vague and meandering. Several WhatsApp employees have left or plan to leave because of Mr. Zuckerberg’s plans,” People familiar with the issue said.”
“Unifying the infrastructure for WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger is technically challenging. Unlike Facebook Messenger and Instagram, WhatsApp does not store messages and keeps minimal user data. It is the only one of the three services to currently use end-to-end encryption by default.”
With all the trouble Facebook went through last year and more troubles coming this year, many users may start considering other options. Privacy concerns and bad user experience may trigger people to leave en masse. We just have to wait and see.