In an ambitious plan that will reportedly involve thousands of engineers, Facebook is embarking on a new initiative designed to integrate the messaging services across Instagram, WhatsApp, and of course, Facebook Messenger. Originally brought to light via The New York Times, the overarching goal is to allow users from any of the above platforms to chat with each other. So, for example, a Facebook user would be able to engage in a chat with someone on Instagram who doesn’t even have a Facebook account.
The plan is reportedly being spearheaded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who, in typical fashion, is always on the lookout for ways to increase user engagement and prevent users from drifting off to other social networking platforms. At this point, it remains unclear how the cross-platform chat functionality would operate, but hopefully Facebook will be able to keep it relatively simple.
Also of note is that Zuckerberg wants all cross-platform chats to feature end-to-end encryption. This of course shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given all of the backlash Facebook has received with respect to privacy issues in recent months. The work on the chat integration is said to be in the preliminary stages and might not be completed until the beginning of 2020.
In a statement on the matter, a Facebook spokesperson said that the company wants to “make it easier to reach friends and family across networks” and that their goal is to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.”
All in all, Facebook’s chat integration initiative seems like a smart move. In addition to facilitating communication across platforms, it may also motivate users of a given Facebook platform to sign up for another.
Zuckerberg may get a lot of flack for Facebook’s privacy missteps, but as the architect of Facebook’s roadmap, it’s hard to argue with any of the major moves he’s made in the past. Truth be told, some of Facebook’s more controversial moves, from the acquisition of Instagram to the exorbitant price it paid for WhatsApp, now seem brilliant with the benefit of hindsight.