Why The Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp Message Merger Is A Good Thing

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Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp

A few days ago it was released that Mark Zuckerberg has intentions to merge Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messenger and WhatsApp.

The current headlines have led people to believe that Facebook wants to merge all three apps into one monopolising social media app, however, this is not the case. Facebook simply wants to create one standard messaging infrastructure which it can then use within all of its apps. This means that Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp will remain as individual apps but the way they process and deal with messages will be handled by one standard backend system.

Why is this a good thing?

This makes perfect sense for Facebook, consumers and businesses. One standard messaging infrastructure means that Facebook can build tools on top of the messaging platform (such as stories, payments and widgets) at a much faster rate, rather than building for each of the three existing apps individually. We have already seen, from China, how messaging apps like WeChat can integrate tools such as e-commerce and payments which become integral parts of everyday life and in doing so they improve the lives of many. If Facebook gets this right, they could build a messaging ecosystem which becomes so useful and feature rich that we may wonder why we ever did things the ‘old’ way. These features could be such things as online shopping with the live assistance of a personal shopper bot, booking your cinema tickets directly in WhatsApp – then set a reminder message for an hour before showing, or even businesses could start live video calls to solve customer issues, managed properly through a single business web interface.

End-to-end encryption

With this merger comes another major benefit to the users of the messaging services; End-to-end encryption. Due to WhatsApp being the largest messaging app in the world with 1.5 billion monthly users according to TechCrunch, it is believed that the infrastructure for the single messaging service will be mostly based upon the current infrastructure of WhatsApp. If so that would bring end-to-end encryption to Facebook Messenger and Instagram Messenger by default. End-to-end encryption secures your messages whilst being transmitted meaning not even Facebook can read those messages even if they wanted to. Facebook Messenger does already support end-to-end encryption, but only if enabled manually per chat, and Instagram does not currently support any messaging encryption.

Instagram

Instagram’s messaging system is also far behind that of Facebook’s or WhatsApp as Instagram was never originally built as an interaction and messaging app. It lacks many features such as the ability to send location data, documents or payments. It also lacks a web interface meaning that messages must be sent through the app.
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Better For Businesses

The merging of all three messaging services will also be widely welcomed by businesses, especially those which have a large customer service presence. Customer service has shifted to online and ever increasingly to social media with 54% of customers preferring to use social channels for customer care, according to ADWEEK. However, replying to customers on multiple social media platforms, sometimes up to 6, can cause major headaches for businesses as their customer service teams need to deal with messages across multiple platforms. Compiling Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messenger and WhatsApp messenger into one single platform which can be accessed either via a web page or API will be a huge benefit to businesses and also to the customers that they serve. This will make it easier for businesses to manage conversations, reply faster and have a business presence across all three of the social platforms.

Facebook Data Privacy

Of course, there is an elephant in the room: Data Privacy.

Facebook will have to tread carefully when building out this new messaging infrastructure. For example, they can not suddenly make all WhatsApp profiles accessible and searchable on Facebook, in order to protect the users who only signed up to WhatsApp. However, considering that the data privacy spotlight has been shining brightly on Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in March 2018, I suspect the privacy of the users of all apps will be at the forefront of their development plans. After all, the media will be watching, very closely.

 

This blog post contains both opinions and facts, it would be great to continue this conversation and to hear your opinions so feel free to contact me using the Contact page or find us on Social Media.