Facebook is working to allow cross-messaging between Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, according to a report in The New York Times this morning.
Each service will continue to operate as a standalone app, but according to the Times, Facebook is rebuilding the underlying infrastructure so that people who might use only one of Facebook’s properties could communicate with others within the company’s ecosystem. All of the apps will support end-to-end encryption as well. Facebook has yet to provide a timeline for when this will happen.
“We want to build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “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. 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.”
By allowing these messaging apps to speak to one another across platforms, Facebook is no doubt hoping that it will keep its users more engaged and get them to use this merged system as their primary messaging service. By doing so, the company could also tout higher user engagement to advertisers, bumping up its advertising arm at a time when growth has slowed down.
Facebook has the most users of any other social media platform, and by combining its assets this way, the company could more directly compete with Apple’s iMessage and Google’s messaging services.