Facebook currently owns and operates three messaging platforms that all run independently of each other – Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. All three platforms feature their own respective messaging component; Instagram users, for instance, can’t use the app to contact users on WhatsApp.
That will all change in the future, as Facebook is reportedly in the process of rebuilding its software infrastructure to allow cross-platform messaging from any of its standalone properties to another. According to reporting by the New York Times, the software rewrite is currently in its infancy and might not be made public until late 2019 or early 2020.
“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.
By tying its various properties together with the ability to easily connect with billions of people, Facebook is looking to drive user engagement and dissuade users from using texting platforms from Google or Apple’s iMessage.
Once complete, the merger would mean that a Facebook user could communicate directly with someone who only has a WhatsApp account. This is currently impossible as the applications have no common core.
Given all of the privacy-related scandals that have engulfed Facebook over the past year, the idea that the company is looking to exert even more control by merging the messaging platforms may be a bit disconcerting. However, the report says that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has demanded that all of the apps support end-to-end encryption for increased security.
While the messaging components of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram will be integrated in the future, each will remain their own separate app for the foreseeable future.