Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is planning to unify the messaging features of its WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger services and incorporate end-to-end encryption to these apps.
While all three will remain stand-alone apps, at a much deeper level they will be linked so messages can travel between the different services. A Facebook user, for instance, will be able send an encrypted message to someone who has only a WhatsApp account, according to a the New York Times report.
The company is still in the early stages of the work and plans to complete it by the end of this year or in early 2020, the report said.
Facebook did not provide request for comment."We want to build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private," said Facebook in a statement.
"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," it added.
Linking the three systems marks a significant change at Facebook as before now it has let Instagram and WhatsApp operate as largely independent companies.
The decision comes as Facebook faces repeated investigations and criticisms over the way it has handled and safeguarded user data, and how much data is shared between WhatsApp and Facebook.
Unifying people’s identities online and in the real world is a big help to Facebook’s advertising business at a time when it needs a lift. Facebook’s advertising system already spans across the company’s various services. A move to a single Facebook tech foundation will make it even easier for the social-media giant to gather more data on people as they surf around all the company’s apps, and pinpoint ads to them.
That doesn’t mean Facebook will be free from government scrutiny. European regulators could and should ask Facebook tough questions if it unifies its empire of apps.