Zuckerberg plans to merge Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram

Zuckerberg plans to merge Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram

Plus, it means that someone using Facebook Messenger could potentially send a message to a friend on WhatsApp without the friend having to have a Facebook account.

According to an NYTimes report, Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger apps will be integrated soon, bringing together three of the biggest messaging apps with a combined user base of over 2.6 billion. According to a New York Times report, all the three services will continue to operate as standalone apps, but their technical infrastructure will be integrated. On the other hand, Facebook has also stated that it wants to make "more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted".

WhatsApp now allows a person to create an account simply with a phone number, while Instagram allows people to have multiple anonymous accounts without using their real names.

WhatsApp, for example uses end-to-end encryption, but lacks a desktop app, which Facebook Messenger has.

WhatsApp, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $19bn, and Instagram, which was purchased in 2012 for $715m, had been operated relatively independently within Facebook until they grew to become more important parts of Facebook's business.

The move which mixes the best of logical, obvious and hugely surprising, will see the three services become a single tool at the end of what the New York Times reports will be a "long process".

By effectively joining all its users into one massive group Facebook could compete more effectively with Google's messaging services and Apple's iMessage, suggested Makena Kelly on tech news site The Verge.

Until now, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger have been run as separate and competing products.

What could Facebook gain by undertaking this boondoggle, especially one reported to be pursuing end-to-end encryption?

This news is a stark reversal of Zuckerberg's previous commitments to Instagram and WhatsApp, which were promised autonomy from Facebook when the company acquired them.

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who left the company past year to start a foundation, urged people to delete their Facebook accounts in March 2018 over privacy concerns and gave an push to the #DeleteFacebook movement. WhatsApp's founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, departed for similar reasons. And while the information is not sold to outside advertisers, it does help the platform with "security and operating our services", he argued in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The benefits are myriad, including the potential advertising-related benefits as well as giving Facebook a way to feed off the popularity of its other apps. At the one extreme, there's WhatsApp's simple request for a phone number.

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