|Facebook, the social media networking giant, is considering to merge three of its most popular social network messaging services- WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. The merger is said to allow the users to send messages without switching the platforms for the first time. Facebook explained that externally these services would continue to operate as stand-alone apps, but internally their technical infrastructure will be unified.
The unification plan was first reported in the New York Times and is believed to be a personal project of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In a statement, Facebook told the Guardian that it wants to create the best messaging experiences for people and want messaging to be instant, simple, reliable and secure. It said, “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. As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work.”
By far Whatsapp is the most secure messaging app, as it uses the security feature, which prevents anyone, including Facebook itself, from intercepting the contents, whereas Facebook messenger only supports E2E (end-to-end) in a special “secure conversations”, which is off by default on ‘off’ mode and needs be enabled separately for every chat, while Instagram features no encryption at all.
The move by the company which is already neck deep over the privacy infringement scandals raises concerns among privacy researchers and antitrust experts. Also, the opposers of this merger believe that it would increase Facebook’s hold over the world of social media, making it harder to force Facebook to take a U-turn in future (disjoining WhatsApp or Instagram), if a competition commissioner decides to push for a demerger due to anti-monopoly reasons.
The critics also suspect the manner in which founders of both Whatsapp and Instagram left the organisation. Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp, left in 2017 and Acton’s co-founder, and WhatsApp’s chief executive, Jan Koum, quit in April, announcing that he wants to take time off to do things he like. Then, in September, both the co-founders of Instagram quit at the same time without giving a substantial reason. But Acton went one step further in March, with his “#deletefacebook” post on Twitter.