It all started with a news given by the New York Times , news that bounced around all the newspapers in the world in a very short time. Because when it transpires that Mark Zuckerberg, inventor and founder of Facebook and owner of Instagram and WhatsApp, is thinking of integrating the chats of all his social networks and merging them into one large messaging system, the thing cannot which arouse great interest and certainly does not go unnoticed.
The idea is precisely to combine the Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp chats, which will continue to be single applications, but will have a single structure for texting, which everyone can access. The news, we do not deny it, is a bit disconcerting, but it seems that the unification process has already begun and should end at the end of the current year or at the beginning of 2020 at the latest.
In a Zuckerberg post focusing on the issue of online privacy, Facebook actually announced that it wants to revolutionize the way it handles private conversations.
A decision to discuss
That of Zuckerberg is certainly a decision that causes discussion, also because it was he who ensured, in the aftermath of the purchase of WhatsApp, the commitment to leave his social networks completely independent of each other.
This turnaround can only make many turn up their noses, especially since there are those who see it as a strategy to keep users of the three platforms even more connected to themselves. Facebook spokespersons justify the action with the desire to build the best messaging experience possible , facilitating contact between people and making everything leaner, easier and above all safe.
But in reality it is precisely on the security issue that the controversy is unleashed. According to some, this would be a move generated by Mark’s need to plug the crisis of data theft by third-party companies within Facebook. The aim would be to link double-ended users to the most famous social network in the world, avoiding escapes, abandonments and creating an ‘indissoluble’ bond.
Not only that, it would also be a way to bring users who use only one application closer to using the other two. All these hypotheses soon turned into real perplexities, which place the emphasis on the uncertainty regarding the protection of users in terms of safeguarding personal data .
The security problem
The question is still open, but it has already raised serious doubts about the violation of privacy. First of all, we ask ourselves how the data of the various users will be treated and shared.
The problem mainly concerns WhatsApp, which in theory only needs a phone number to work, while social networks Facebook and Instagram require a more formal registration, in which personal data is entered.
The interference between the three apps has never been a secret. Facebook and Instagram can share content and stories, but perhaps what is most frightening is the integration with WhatsApp , which in general is not considered a real social network. Those who use WA often do not use other social networks and this integration could scare those who for years have given up having an Ig or Fb account, because they are not interested or because they are particularly attentive to safeguarding their privacy.
The union of the three applications could lead to a request for sensitive data by WA too and if you think about it, FB has been trying to grab users’ phone numbers for years, claiming that this will help keep your account is more secure.
In short, as always, everything is played around the acquisition of data and from this point of view the integration hypothesized by the New York Times can be problematic.
The benefits for Facebook
This merger would bring a whole series of great advantages to Facebook, not only from the point of view of the number of users, but also from the point of view of economic opportunity. Right now the messages from WA and the Direct from Instagram do not generate economic income, but we are sure that even here there will be room for new advertising opportunities. This large operation would lead to an increase in user engagement, we are talking about a total of almost 2.6 billion people, who would all communicate with the same tool.
Greater engagement means greater earnings and more opportunities in this regard. Bringing together such a number of people would provide a major competitive advantage. A peek at the usage data shows how the use of WA is not homogeneous in the world, it is very strong in South America, for example, but it is non-existent or almost non-existent in China and little used in the States, where they prefer to communicate with Google messaging services. or IMessage or even through simple sms. Combining all users into one large group would surely be a huge boost in competition with the other two messaging software giants, Google and Apple.
Another factor to consider is the savings that would result from the design point of view in the long run, it’s about creating just one messaging product instead of 3 and significant savings from an implementation point of view.
Whatever the reason that led the Facebook group to hypothesize this solution, one thing is certain, it would be a big change in the way most of us communicate.