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NEWS WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger to merge

Facebook is planning to integrate its messaging services on Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, according to a report in the New York Times.

The three popular social media apps will remain standalone apps but they will be linked so messages can flow between the different services.

According to the paper, the plan is being overseen directly by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The plan

The vision for the project is seamless integration so that if you use Facebook, you could message someone who is on WhatsApp and the two apps would talk. Currently the apps are totally separate as far as messaging is concerned, although there is some Instagram and Facebook integration currently as Instagram Stories and photos can be shared across both services.

The work has already started to unite the services, with completion expected by the end of 2019, or early next year.  This is a massive change for all three platforms, so it will be one Facebook take their time with to ensure they get it right.

“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.

The statement also confirmed that there was a lot of “discussion and debate” about how the services will eventually work.

Whilst a single messaging platform that works across all three does make sense in terms of keeping messaging simple, it will raise some questions over how data is shared across the three social sites.

facebook instagram whatsapp messenger logos

A change from the original plan

The move is also a change of plan for Mark Zuckerberg who originally said Facebook would keep WhatsApp and Instagram separate from each other.

Facebook purchased the photo-sharing platform Instagram for approximately £761 million ($1 billion) in 2012, before acquiring messaging app WhatsApp for an estimated £14.7bn ($19.3 billion) in 2014.

What we think

This was inevitable. In a world where hundreds of new apps are created every day, at some point there would need to be some more unification between same company-owned services. Not everyone is on Facebook and not everyone is on WhatsApp, but in a world where messaging each other has become the norm, there is a need for the service to be a simple and cross-compatible as sending a text message.

If Facebook can do a good job of convincing everyone that the only part integrating is the messaging, with some optional quick-links to the other services’ feeds, then once all the hype dies down, this could be widely accepted by most.  It’s not too different from having different email inboxes – ones on Gmail, ones on Outlook, ones on Hotmail, but they can all be linked and accessed from one app.  One things for sure, the data privacy debate will rage with this one but just like many of the rolled out changes on social media platforms, it will upset some users and delight others.  And everyone knows (hello MySpace, hello Friendster), you have to keep innovating as there is no doubt someone working away in their bedroom on the next social media app to dominate our smartphones.

Are you happy with Mark’s plan? Let us know in the Comments (or on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp ;)).

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