Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram messenger services are to be merged into a unified entity, according to reports.
Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is said to be looking at how it can reconfigure the chat functions of all three apps.
Sources told the New York Times that the three social media apps would continue to operate as standalone programmes but the separate messaging infrastructures would be brought together. If that happens, a user could send a message from Facebook to someone who only has a WhatsApp or Instagram account.
The company is said to be aiming to complete the work needed to make the plans possible by the end of 2019 or early 2020. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg reportedly wants to increase the utility of the social network in part so it can build up advertising business or introduce new money-making services.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Facebook said the company wanted to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.”
“We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”
Zuckerberg had previously promised, when buying WhatsApp and Instagram, that both platforms would be autonomous from Facebook.
Facebook has been involved in some high-level scandals in recent years. In 2018, it emerged that political data firm Cambridge Analytica collected private information from 50 million Facebook users without the network’s knowledge.
Some users decided to quit the platform after that including Massive Attack.
The Bristol group issued a statement about their decision to stop using Facebook, saying: “In light of FB’s continued disregard for your privacy, their lack of transparency and disregard for accountability – Massive Attack will be temporarily withdrawing from FB.”