Facebook getting its messaging apps to be friends

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is making it a priority this year to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, according to a New York Times report published on Friday.

The social media giant owns the other apps but had previously indicated that it would keep the different companies' operations largely separate. If true, users of the platforms should easily be able to share Stories and individual posts with their friends through either of the apps. When I started Facebook, I wasn't trying to build a global company.

The platforms would include Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, all properties owned by Facebook.

However, Facebook spokespeople have also claimed that the apps will remain single entities, with no changes as to how they are used or accessed.

This effort won't be simple.

One business opportunity involves behavior around Facebook Marketplace, a free Craigslist-like product where people can buy and sell goods on the social network. Over at WhatsApp, people sign up using their phone numbers rather than names. In a column in The Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg clarified that Facebook does not sell people's data. An official statement by Facebook on the development is awaited.

While the unified messaging platform has not been cited as the primary reason for their departure, both the founders of Instagram and WhatsApp have all left Facebook.

The report notes that all the integration isn't going to be an easy task.

"Clickbait and other junk may drive engagement in the near term, but it would be foolish for us to show this intentionally because it's not what people want", Zuckerberg wrote.

There are several serious implications to the decision to integrate Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, however. The op-ed is an apparently clarification of Facebook's mission as it turns 15 years old next month.

Facebook in November 2018 also said it had removed 85 accounts on Instagram and 30 on Facebook that the company feared were linked to Russian operatives and were covertly orchestrating online activity on the eve of the US midterm elections.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg also admits that Facebook must be more transparent about how it employs its users' private data to generate billions of dollars in ad revenue.

The UK's Information Commissioner has already conducted investigations into how much data is shared between WhatsApp and Facebook. One of WhatsApp's founders recently told Forbes that he believed Facebook caused him to tell European regulators something that wasn't true. When each company was acquired, teams there were promised relative autonomy from their new owners.