Facebook to merge Messenger with Instagram and WhatsApp in ‘early 2020’

Sources say the apps will use one messaging service but function independently

Facebook WhatsApp Instagram
(Image credit: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook is planning to allow cross-messaging between users on Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.

A report by The New York Times claims that the Facebook-owned apps will share the same messaging service, but will continue to function independently.

The move allows people who use just one of the apps to communicate with users of the others, the newspaper says. That isn’t possible at the moment.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

For instance, someone who uses Instagram but deletes the WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps from their phone can still contact people using those services.

Facebook also plans to bring end-to-end encryption to all its services, making it far more difficult for hackers to spy on conversations, says Apple news site 9to5Mac.

There’s “no doubt” that Facebook is aiming to “keep its users more engaged” and develop a “primary messaging service”, The Verge notes.

Not only would merging the messaging services of all three platforms improve convenience, but it would also give the company a footing to “tout higher user engagement to advertisers” at a time when the firm’s “growth has slowed down”, the tech news site says.

A Facebook spokesperson told the New York Times that the company wanted to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.

“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”, they added.

Facebook has yet to confirm when the move will happen, but the newspaper’s sources claim the merge is planned to take place in “early 2020”.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us