Facebook speeds up assimilation of WhatsApp and Instagram

Looks like a handy way of fending off the regulators and avoiding a break-up.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

The Facebook news just keeps coming, doesn't it? Today's big news: Facebook is planning on essentially unifying WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram's messaging:

The services will continue to operate as stand-alone apps, but their underlying technical infrastructure will be unified, said four people involved in the effort. That will bring together three of the world’s largest messaging networks, which between them have more than 2.6 billion users, allowing people to communicate across the platforms for the first time.

Three thoughts about this:

  1. This has clearly been coming for a while. The growing technical integration between Facebook and Instagram has been obvious to anyone using both of those apps.
  2. Well, now the departure of the Instagram founders last year makes more snese, doesn't it? What was their internal fiefdom within the Facebook empire is increasingly just becoming a different UI on top of a common Facebook infrastructure.
  3. One of the most commonly proposed legal remedies to dealing with the increasing power — and increasingly malign influence — of Facebook is to force it to offload those separate apps. This makes that a massively more tricky undertaking. That's not a co-incidence.

We're well over a year into rolling bad news about Facebook - but the company remains as arrogant and unapologetic as ever. It's really staggering.

The plan — which is in the early stages, with a goal of completion by the end of this year or early 2020 — requires thousands of Facebook employees to reconfigure how WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger function at their most basic levels, said the people involved in the effort, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential.

Why the hurry, Mark?

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.