Facebook is looking to consolidate its Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp function into a single product. According to an article published for the first time in The New York TimesServices will continue to function as standalone applications, but the technology infrastructure will be unified, which, of course, will strengthen Facebook's understanding of users.
The article added that the merger of types should be completed by the beginning of 2020. Facebook also said New York Times which was intended to create "the best messaging experiences" and was working to make end-to-end encrypted messaging applications and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family on all networks.
For some, the move shows Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg backing on his promise to give WhatsApp and Instagram freedom to make their own choices. Facebook acquired WhatsApp nearly five years ago in a $ 19 billion deal, including $ 4 billion in cash, $ 12 billion in Facebook shares and $ 3 billion for WhatsApp staff over the next four years. At that time, it was Facebook's biggest acquisition so far.
Meanwhile, Instagram has been part of the Facebook family since 2012, when it was acquired for approximately $ 1 billion in cash and stock. Zuckerberg said in a statement seven years ago that the two different experiences complement each other and for him to succeed, platforms need to be "tuned in to maintain and develop Instagram's strengths and capabilities rather than just integrating everything into Facebook ". "That's why we're committed to building and developing Instagram independently," he said.
Since then, all WhatsApp and Instagram founders have left the organization.
A cure for fragmentation?
Justin Peyton, director of strategy and transformation for Digital APAC, said Facebook's decision to integrate the messaging services of its three largest platforms demonstrates recognition of the problems that our increasingly fragmented messaging application environment is creating.
However, the move comes with challenges around identity and data sharing that can potentially make people nervous with what they have already seen as separate and secure channels, he said.
"I believe that communication and sensitivity around security and ensuring that people feel in control of how their data can be used on platforms will be very important. These challenges will not be small, but with the project set to last for a year, it's time to work on it and, hopefully, to do everything right, "said Peyton.
He added that while it's great to have all these services at our disposal, in fact, consumers do not want to have fragmentation in their lives. "Would people be okay if, as a customer of Singtel, they could not connect to M1 customers? Or if using Microsoft Outlook means you could not write to people with Gmail. No, they did not, "he added.
Although Peyton is quick to add that he does not think Facebook is fixing all the fragmentation of the messaging app (after all, a Facebook Messenger user still will not be able to connect with a platform he does not have), the movement demonstrates recognition of what can become a bigger problem over time as people increasingly rely on messaging applications for daily communications.
Lion & Lion's general manager in Malaysia, Cheska Teresa, also welcomed the fact that the integration will simplify Facebook's efforts as it no longer needs to develop competing versions of new features. Cross-platform messaging will also allow companies using one platform to notify potential customers of another.
This will promote the ease and efficiency of doing business for Internet-based buyers and sellers, especially here in Southeast Asia, where small businesses rely heavily on these messaging platforms. For brands and advertisers, integration will provide a great opportunity for better ad targeting as it will facilitate communication with consumers, regardless of the platform used.
James Lyne, director of strategy at Consider iProspect, added that the process will allow Facebook platforms to compete better as a unit, as opposed to one against another. He added that the measure will also provide some security for Facebook, making it more difficult for regulators or governments to decide to split any of those platforms in the future.
"The advertising opportunity and customer experience that Facebook offers to businesses and customers around the world, especially in Malaysia, where WhatsApp usage is higher than average, is also substantial," said Lyne, adding that, despite still be new, it would take a while Traders and advertisers can accurately estimate the impact of introducing advertising on the platforms.