Soon you can send WhatsApp messaging services to your friends on Instagram. Facebook is planning to better integrate its messaging services, but what are the consequences?
1. ‘WhatsApp Facebook integration is coming’: what is going to happen?
Facebook is planning to integrate Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, the New York Times reported this weekend. The different services remain separate, but you can then send messages between the apps. This may have significant consequences for three of the most popular messaging services in the world.
2. What are the advantages?
The idea is that you will soon add contacts from another service via one messaging service, and then send messages to it. So you can send messages to Facebook Messenger with WhatsApp, without having a Facebook account.
On paper it sounds like a good idea: Facebook Messenger, Instagram and especially WhatsApp are among the most popular messaging services of the moment. Probably most friends and family members can be found on WhatsApp, but a handful of users who, for example, do not have a smartphone or mainly use a tablet, are more like Instagram.
Naturally, there are also advantages for Facebook. The social network would like to have as complete a profile as possible of its users, in order to offer more targeted advertisements. If Facebook knows which Instagram profile belongs to which WhatsApp user, it delivers all kinds of extra user data.
In addition, Facebook would be afraid of competition from other messaging services. Although WhatsApp and Instagram are very large in the Netherlands, Americans mainly use iMessage and messaging services from Google. By merging his three apps, Facebook has one large group of users who are even more stuck in the social network ecosystem.
3. What are the disadvantages?
Only: some users are obviously not waiting for Facebook to gather more information about them. The social network now has virtually no view of WhatsApp users, and many people would like to keep it that way. Facebook did not go great with all those user data last year.
It also very probably affects the encryption of your messages. Now WhatsApp has the best encryption of all messaging services: everything is end-to-end encrypted and sent. That means that only you and the recipient can read your message and that it is almost impossible to intercept. Fine for you as a user, but less useful for Facebook: if everything is encrypted, it is also not easy to just link the services.
Especially because the other two messaging services are a lot less secure. Facebook Messenger has optional encryption, but users have to manually enable these themselves. On Instagram, this option is completely missing. Probably the encryption on the last two platforms will be boosted, but there is also a chance that WhatsApp will just (slightly) deteriorate. That is something the New York Times does not yet know at the moment, and Facebook is not giving any comment yet.
4. When does Facebook want to integrate WhatsApp and Instagram?
According to the New York Times, Facebook intends to complete the integration by the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020. A spokesperson for Facebook confirms the plans against NU.nl , but says that there is “a lot of discussion and debate,” and that they just “start the long process of finding out all the details of how this will look like.” suggests that the plans may change, but that we will probably hear more about this later this year.