Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Facebook’s Frankenstein Messenger Plan

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Late last week reports started coming out about FB’s plan to integrate a new messenging service across its Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp properties.  Once operational, users on one site will be able to message someone on another site even if they don’t have an account on that other site.  This is Facebook’s latest attempt to unify its different sites on to one platform and create an “ecosystem” play similar to what Apple, Google and Amazon are building.

The integration of messenging across the three pubs will require FB to do two new things.  First, they’ll need to encrypt Instagram messages – a feature the site currently doesn’t have.  Encryption is a way of scrambling the messaged content so it’s only seen by the sender and recipient.  Currently Facebook proper and WhatsApp are encrypted, but Instagram isn’t.  They’ll need encryption across all three to make the cross-platform system work, so Instagram needs an upgrade.

The other big change with this plan is the integration of WhatsApp into FB’s overall operations.  To date WhatsApp has operated on an island, with no ads and standalone coding.  In order to run messenging across WhatsApp, FB will need to add standardized coding.  This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it could be the initial step of integrating the pub into the mothership.  I’m guessing this will also lead to ads and data targeting on WhatsApp, just like what’s already on Facebook and Instragram.  WhatsApp users, be ware.


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