Facebook Messenger to get WhatsApp integration soon
Apart from WhatsApp, Facebook is also planning to integrate Messenger in Instagram. This is a part of the company's plan to unify all its services.
Mark Zuckerberg in an earnings call last year had revealed that he was planning to integrate Facebook and its sister apps, WhatsApp and Instagram. However, at the time, the Facebook founder had said that there was a lot of planning to be done before the plan was implemented. This year we saw early signs of that integration when Facebook announced the Messenger Rooms feature back in April. And now a report cites what’s coming next.
According to a report by WABetaInfo, Facebook is planning to integrate WhatsApp into Messenger. This feature, in theory, would allow a Facebook user who doesn’t have a WhatApp account to communicate with a WhatsApp user without either one leaving their respective platforms.
Though the feature is still in the early stages of development, the blog site did find some code that enables Facebook to create a ‘local database in order to manage messages and services with other WhatsApp users.’ Essentially, the database in question allows Facebook to understand things such as if a WhatsApp contact is blocked, sounds of push notification, members of a specific group and profile pictures of contact. The database also allows Facebook to understand specific details of a chat such as the phone number of a contact, a message counter and if a chat is archived. Contents of a chat, however, remain hidden owing to the end-to-end encryption used by WhatsApp.
That said, WhatsApp is not the only service that is getting Messenger integration. According to independent developer Alessandro Paluzzi, the social media giant is also working on integrating Messenger in Instagram. As per his analysis, Messenger could be integrated in the photo-sharing app’s Settings menu right above the Follow and Invite Friends button. How this feature would work remains a mystery for now.
As far as Messenger’s WhatsApp integration is concerned, there is no word on how this feature would be implemented owing to the fundamentally different nature of the two services. For your reference, WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted while only the Secret Messages in Messenger are encrypted. Also, Messenger allows users to communicate with strangers whom they may not know in advance or have contact numbers of. WhatsApp, on the other hand, relies on letting people who know each other (and have phone number of) to communicate with one another.
Notably, this is not the only argument that has been presented against this integration since Zuckerberg first proposed this idea last year. Former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos in a statement to Reuters last year said that though Facebook would use end-to-end encryption for the entire communication that would be taking place between the users of the two apps, the technology may not always be able to conceal metadata, which can then be used by Facebook for charging more for targeted advertisements. Such a system could also help Facebook to tighten its grip on WhatsApp and Instagram, two of its biggest acquisitions till date, especially at a time when calls for breaking the company are rising.