It has recently been announced that Facebook is planning on integrating its three most important social media messaging services (WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger), in order to make them work closer together. The Chief Executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has told its developers to rebuild all three services "at their most basic level", according to a New York Times report. These changes are a big deal for Facebook because when Zuckerberg took over the other companies, he vowed to keep them independent/separate.
But don't panic just yet, this planned integration does not mean that these platforms are becoming one single messaging service, instead you will still be able to send and receive messages on each individual platform, with the only difference being the ability to send a message from one platform and read the same message from another. In order for this integration to work, Facebook is planning to take a leaf out of WhatsApp's book and use end-to-end encryption as a security measure, which ensures anyone outside of the message will not be able to read any private messages sent within.
TechRadar reached out to Facebook, this is what a Facebook spokesperson said:
"We want to build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable, and private. 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. 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."
However, the plans for these services to work closer together definitely raises the question surrounding security, especially since Facebook's multiple high-profile data breaches last year. However, as stated earlier, it doesn't seem as though Facebook is planning to fully integrate the apps together, but essentially make each chat service safer and more of a seamless experience than if they were kept separate.
But there has still been some controversy surrounding these plans due to the unrest caused within Facebook last year when Instagram founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Kieger, quit as a result of Zuckerberg's increased control of the company. Similarly, WhatsApp founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, left Facebook based on the same problem.
Regardless, Facebook has already confirmed to the BBC that they are just starting the "long process", and won't be completed until around early 2020.