Facebook plans to merge WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, report reveals

Facebook owns both WhatsApp and Instagram. [Photo: Getty]
Facebook is planning to integrate Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram to create a single platform for instant messaging, according to a new report.

The goal is to dominate messaging and to ultimately shut out other companies like Apple and Google which have services of their own.

Instant messaging could be an important way to grow revenues in the future, with payment services and in-app payments potentially being worth hundreds of millions.

The other advantage would be to allow users of Messenger to text WhatsApp users or to include Messenger and WhatsApp users in Instagram Direct. One backend would make this far easier.

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Two of the products; Messenger and WhatsApp already provide similar functionality. They are both designed for instant communication, giving people a way to chat with friends in real time.

There are differences though. Messenger isn't encrypted, meaning anything you send on that service can be seen by people at Facebook.

The report, by the New York Times, says that Facebook will use this merger to add encryption to the Messenger app.

And perhaps the same is true of Instagram, which has become an instant messaging platform in its own right, though the uses for it are slightly different.

Instagram allows people to interact with their favourite people on the service. That allows fans to message their favourite influencers or just stay in touch with friends.

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Like Messenger, Instagram doesn't use encryption for this service either but would do once the project is complete.

However, this comes at a bad time for Facebook. Increasingly people are concerned about the amount of the market share it owns, especially in messaging.

There are 2.8 billion people using WhatsApp and Messenger globally and no other service comes close.

Not only that but a number of high-profile problems at Facebook have eroded public trust in the firm. From hacks to letting Cambridge Analytica walk off with user data the company has suffered more negative feeling than ever before.

The work would reportedly finish in early 2020.

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