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article imageWhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger to integrate

By Tim Sandle     Jan 25, 2019 in Technology
Facebook has announced plans to 'integrate' its three social media communications platforms - WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. The three will continue as separate services, but it will be possible to send messages between them.
For users of the three platforms the announcement will not change the front-end functionality. However, 'beneath the box' tings will be taking place with the apps at a much deeper level. The key change will be the ability to send messages between the different services. This means that someone who only has Facebook Messenger will be able to send a message to someone who uses WhatsApp, and similarly between the three services..
The integration will not happen immediately and Facebook have intimated, via the New York Times, that the declaration of integration is just the beginning of a long and complex process. The project has the personal backing of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The biggest obstacle to the integration arises because the three applications have no common core. Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010, and initially it was exclusively for iOS (it was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012); WhatsApp was the proprietary technology of WhatsApp Inc. and ran as an independent service until acquired by Facebook in 2014; and Facebook Messenger (originally developed as Facebook Chat) dates back to 2008 and is an in-house Facebook product.
The reason behind the move, the BBC reports, is not simply to aid consumers. By integrating the messaging parts this simplifies Facebook's work, in that the company would not need to develop competing versions of new features, such as Stories (something each app has introduced independently).
There could also be more to gain by Facebook. The company is unable to scan WhatsApp messages due to a security feature called E2E, The Guardian reports. Such a feature is not present on Messenger, allowing Facebook to scan messages as part of its advertising business. By enabling this in WhatsApp, Facebook's ability to collect data and market content will be enhanced.
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