Zuckerberg confirms merging Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram messages by 2020

Zuckerberg says merging Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram will improve security, bridge gap in communication

While reports last week indicated Facebook’s plan to merge its messaging systems such as Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into a single platform, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now confirmed that it will indeed combine these messaging platforms into one. The CEO made the announcement during Facebook’s Q4 2018 earnings call.

Facebook's CEO explains why the comapny wants to merge Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger into one unified platform.. Image: Reuters

Facebook's CEO explains why the company wants to merge Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger into one unified platform. Image: Reuters

While previous reports and threads explained that merging would make it easier to send messages across these apps, Zuckerberg has now explained that combining these three platforms will provide offer more secure end-to-end encryption. While end-to-end encryption is currently available only on WhatsApp, this move is said to benefit Messenger and Instagram users as it would enable them to send end-to-end encrypted messages across these platforms. Right now end-to-end encryption has to be activated on Messenger whereas it's not available on Instagram DMs.

The CEO further pointed out that the combined messaging platform will bridge ‘certain’ gaps in communication. He also noted that ‘tens of millions’ of Android users who use Messenger as their default SMS app at present would benefit from having encryption enabled as a default.

But while the company shared insights on its plan of merging the apps into and explained why it wants to combine the apps ‘underlying infrastructure,’ it won’t happen until 2020.

“The integration that we’re thinking about, we’re really early in thinking through this,” said Zuckerberg during the earnings call. “There’s a lot more we need to figure out. I think it’s the direction we should be going with more things in the future,” he added.

As for the layout, Zuckerberg highlighted that the merger of these three platforms would create an “iMessage-like layer for SMS.” The iMessage like layer for SMS is believed to provide users more functionality and security.

But while Facebook’s CEO is planning to broaden the availability of end-to-end encryption by stitching the apps' infrastructure into one, several questions have raised about privacy and how users data will be shared across these messaging services.

Facebook had been severely scrutinised last year for Cambridge Analytica scandal and it has been one privacy disaster after another. Just yesterday, we learned how Facebook wiretapped teens as young as 13 for a fee of $20 a month to access all their mobile data. But amidst criticism, Zuckerberg hopes that the merging would help increase Facebook’s utility and keep users highly engaged inside the company’s ecosystem, according to a report from The New York Times.

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