In an effort to connect messaging functions across multiple apps, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is looking to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. The aim is to combine the underlying messaging infrastructure of the services, while keeping them as separate apps, The New York Times reported.
According to unnamed sources, the project would mean that thousands of workers at Facebook would have to rework the most basic functions of Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. At the same time, it was also reported that Zuckerberg wants all of the apps to make use of end-to-end encryption. With such planned changes, a user of Facebook could send a WhatsApp user an encrypted message.
Facebook said in a statement, according to the paper, that it seeks to “build the best messaging experiences we can.” The company added, “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.”
The initiative comes as news surfaced that Facebook-owned WhatsApp surpassed Facebook in terms of monthly active users last September, according to an App Annie report. While the report didn’t offer specifics, it did show that WhatsApp and Facebook and have nearly 200 million active users on a monthly basis. WhatsApp, however, gained a slight advantage and pulled ahead at the end of last year. WhatsApp is especially popular in India, where it has the most users.
The service is also well used in Mexico, Turkey, Russia and Brazil. And, even with some controversy about fake news, the app still took hold in India and Brazil, amid steps the company took to battle tackle that challenge. In addition, the WhatsApp service is also popular in places like Canada as well as the United Kingdom. A big part of the app's selling point is that it offers users a free alternative to standard text messages that can be expensive, particularly for international travelers.