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Facebook plans to integrate Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. What that means for users

Facebook plans to integrate its messaging platforms, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, according to a...

Posted: Jan 26, 2019 6:36 AM

Facebook plans to integrate its messaging platforms, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, according to a report from the New York Times.

The three services would remain separate apps, but their infrastructure behind the scenes would be the same.

Even with minimal changes on the surface, the move could have an impact on the billions of people who use the tools. For example, it could allow the company to build a single user profile from its different apps to better target ads.

The apps could also get end-to-end encryption, which shields messages from being read by people outside of the conversation, according to Facebook.

"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," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "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."

Facebook estimates 2.6 billion people total now use Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Messenger each month, according to its most recent earnings report. In addition, more than 2 billion people use at least one of these Facebook-owned apps each day on average.

Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at research firm eMarketer, said data would likely be shared between the apps as a result of the move. That could make it easier for Facebook to track users' activities across its family of apps and target ads more effectively.

For users, increased data sharing could also mean that information about their activities on WhatsApp will be associated with what they do on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger, she added.

"If users didn't think Facebook and its messaging apps were all the same company, they will have to confront that reality now," Williamson said. "Knitting the messaging apps together shows that Facebook wants to exert more control over them, and that may lead to more internal executive conflict."

After being acquired by Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram remained relatively independent entities. However, both platforms have become increasingly important to the company as Facebook has struggled with fake news, foreign election meddling and privacy scandals.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014, and its CEO and co-founder Jan Koum left the company in May 2018. Koum reportedly decided to resign after disagreeing with Facebook over its approach to personal data and encryption.

In October, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left Facebook after reportedly clashing with CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of the photo sharing app. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

Jessica Liu, senior analyst at research firm Forrester, believes the user experience would only change slightly.

"I'm sure most users won't notice and won't think twice about it," she said. "As it is, you're already getting Facebook friend suggestions in Instagram and you're already getting kicked from Facebook to the Messenger app if you want to talk 'privately' to another Facebook user."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
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Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
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Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
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Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
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Carroll1102
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Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
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Athens591
Carroll593
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Brown571
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Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
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Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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