Facebook aims to integrate its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram services, according to a report.
The New York Times claims “four people involved in the effort” have said the plan is to unify the underlying infrastructure of the apps. This would allow users of each to message each other across platforms.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also said to have demanded each app utilises end-to-end encryption for privacy.
The apps themselves will remain separate on the user-end.
What about user data?
How Facebook will handle and share user data between services is not clear. Each app currently requires different personal information - such as a phone number and real name - to be used. Such a move will also likely have implications for the company’s ads business.
It's likely these plans will raise questions from regulators, particularly in the European Union, on how user data will be handled and protected. The EU is currently cracking down on how companies use data through initiatives such as GDPR and Article 13.
Integration of each app’s infrastructure is a turnaround from previous suggestions that each service would remain independent of one another.
In response to the news, a statement from Facebook said it aims to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private”.
It continued: “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.”