Facebook could merge WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger by 2020

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Facebook messaging apps
Mark Zuckerberg was to integrate Facebook-owned, Instagram, WhatsApp and messenger.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook will merge its messaging apps, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, by 2020 under a new plan ordered by CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Under the plan, the three apps will remain separate but integration would allow an Instagram user to directly chat with someone on Messenger.

News of the plan, which Zuckerberg has been pushing with his employees for months, was first reported this morning by the New York Times.

Zuckerberg hopes the billions of Facebook users would forgo texting services by Apple and Google. More interaction could be a boon to even greater ad revenues for Facebook. Two of the most popular apps worldwide, Instagram and WhatsApp, generate only modest ad revenues.

Facebook messaging apps and a new controversy

In a single ecosystem, the apps would get retooled with end-to-end encryption, which would be welcomed by users concerned with data privacy. Facebook has been making headlines for the last year over its data sharing practices and bad actors spreading erroneous information that many say affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook wants to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private,” according to a company 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.”

The move may explain the sudden departures of Instagram’s and WhatsApp’s founders, all who left as Zuckerberg reportedly got more involved in how those apps are run.

Citing unnamed sources, the Times said employees, especially those working on WhatsApp, opposed the integration of the apps and some WhatsApp workers already have left or plan on leaving.

A WhatsApp employee analyzed usage and determined the number of new users under integration would be “relatively meager.”

During a December meeting with Zuckerberg, WhatsApp employees pushed back and questioned why “he was so invested in merging the services. Some said his answers were vague and meandering,” the Times reported.

There are no concrete plans for integrating the apps, according to the report.

Source: New York Times