The popular applications will be integrated.
JEDDAH: Facebook is working to integrate the three messaging services it owns — Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
The three apps will continue to be available independently, but the underlying infrastructure that powers them will be unified.
Work on the plan is at an early stage but Facebook aims to complete it by the end of 2019 or in early 2020.
The merger is the brainchild of Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, the New York Times reported. It is aimed at increasing activity among the social networking platform’s billions of users, while luring them away from rival messaging services.
Facebook said it wanted to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.”
It added: “We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and are considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and families across networks.”
Mishal Alsowayan, 31, a Saudi marketing manager with 20,000 followers across a range of social networking platforms, said: “We use Facebook less in the region nowadays and I don’t think this will affect the way I use apps. If it does improve quality on all three apps then I would be more willing to use it on a regular basis.”
Alsowayan also had security concerns about the merging of the services.
Combining the messaging services has raised questions about how Facebook will protect customer data.
WhatsApp requires users to register only a phone number. Facebook and Messenger ask for real identities. Matching Facebook and Instagram users to their WhatsApp IDs may concern those who prefer keeping their use of each app separate.
“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,” Facebook said.