Facebook announced its plans to integrate the messaging services of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as part of an overall technical undertaking for better security on its platforms.
According to a report from The New York Times, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to connect all of Facebook’s messaging services: Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp. While the apparent reason is to improve encryption and security across all platforms, Facebook’s unspoken objective could be about much more than that.
While stand alone apps should remain as such, the plan aims to unify their messaging infrastructure so that users of any of the apps can send messages to other people using any of the other apps. To make this possible, Facebook plans to first bring end-to-end encryption to Instagram Direct. WhatsApp and Messenger already offer this type of security.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed:
“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,” a company spokesperson said in an email to Adweek. “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.”
Now, let’s look at the real benefits of this integration for Facebook. While we are all asked to share quite a bit of personal information to register on Facebook, the other two platforms allow for much lighter sign-ups. On Instagram, all you need is an email and password. While on WhatsApp, only a phone number is required. By integrating all three platforms, Facebook will immediately benefit from shared personal information across platforms. And of course, that means better targeting, relevancy and more advertising opportunities.
The real question then becomes: is the simplicity of an integrated approach enough of a benefit for users to give up yet more personal information?
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