Facebook is planning to integrate Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and its messaging service on Instagram. The move has been confirmed by Mark Zuckerberg, but it isn’t likely before 2020. The plan is for all 3 to remain as stand-alone apps, although they will be linked so messages can travel between the different services. Once complete, it would mean a user on Facebook could communicate with someone who only had a WhatsApp or Instagram account. This currently isn’t possible.
Facebook will spin this as a benefit to the user – but realistically Facebook is doing this to push its targeted advertising even further. Businesses would be able to reach users across platforms for example. It would mean Facebook would hold even more data on users, therefore it would be able to offer even more targeting capabilities for advertisers.
Another reason it will be making the move toward this will be so they can compete with Apple’s iMessage and make Facebook’s empire more difficult to break up – but it could spell danger ahead for Facebook.
Facebook have been caught up in scandal after scandal in 2018 over privacy and data, the EU and the UK Information Commissioner will be watching closely and may launch further investigations on this.
Facebook’s statement 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," it added.
If Facebook pushes ahead and government regulators allow it, this will be targeted advertising on a scale never seen before.