Did you hear that Facebook to Integrate Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
Facebook is planning to pull together the company’s three messaging services into one platform, according to a report in the New York Times, Facebook has long had its own chatting app, Messenger, and bought rival service WhatsApp in 2014.(Facebook to Integrate Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger)
Instagram, the photosharing tool that also lets users send private messages, was bought by the company in2012.
Currently, the three apps are completely separate but, according to the NY Times report, Facebook plans to unify them to the same set of code, so users of one app can message users of another without having to install each one individually:
for example, if you’re on WhatsApp,you can send a message to someone on Instagram. Such a move raises privacy and security concerns, particularly among WhatsApp users.
That app is end-to-end encrypted,which means that messages sent and received can’t be seen by Facebook.
Instagram and Messenger are not encrypted in this way, though anyone wanting extra protection in the latter can turn on the Secret Conversations mode in the app.
Rather than remove WhatsApp’s protections, it’s believed the plan is to add end-to-end encryption to Instagram and Messenger.
While that increased security would be welcome, there are concerns that Facebook will start linking WhatsApp users to their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
It’s made moves to do so previously,but was banned by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2018 underthe EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Facebook’s purchase of both apps raised privacy concerns at the time, particularly over whether the social network would use data collected by WhatsApp and Instagram for advertising purposes.
Instagram currently makes revenue by showing ads to users, but until recently WhatsApp was ad free.
It’s due to start showing adverts on its Status screen soon.
Some commentators believe the integration of the messaging apps is to bolster Facebook’s case against being broken up by regulators, who have been urged privacy campaigners to split off Instagram,WhatsApp and Messenger into their own companies.
That would be harder to achieve the services were more tightly entwined.
How will it affect you?
The integration plans remain a proposal, with Facebook saying it wants to make it easier for people to chat across apps and to roll outend-to-end encryption more widely. Whatever Facebook’s
decision, the changes aren’t expected until 2020 at the earliest. But any changes regarding data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook are likely to face push-back from regulators, so expect delays.
If the integration goes ahead, anyone using WhatsApp will be able to message someone on Facebook Messenger without signing up for a Facebook account. The
same goes for Instagram.On the plus side,this will make it easier to contact friends and family who use different messaging apps to you, and giving Instagram and Messenger users end-to-end encryption will help protect data from hackers as well asFacebook itself.
The main concern is whether Facebook will start hoovering up data on WhatsApp users. If any of this makes you nervous,you
canditch all three and useSignal (signal.org)instead.
It uses the same systems as WhatsApp, but is wholly independent from Facebook. However, you’ll have to convince everyone you want to contact also install the app.
What do we think?
Adding encryption to Messenger and Instagram would be good, but it could be done now, without melding the apps into a single codebase.
Letting users message across apps will make communication easier, but it shouldn’t require WhatsApp users to hand their real identity to Facebook or link their account with a Facebook profile.
Hopefully, the integration can be carried out in a secure and private way.
We should be vigilant with our data, no matter what the company,but given Facebook’s many missteps and abuses, we should all be extra careful when it makes a change that could affect our privacy or security.
Trust is earned, and Facebook has lost ours time and again.
Let us know what do you think on this in comments section below!