Facebook won’t force WhatsApp and Messenger integration on you, claims VP

In 2019, Mark Zuckerberg started the project to merge Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs and WhatsApp. Last year the company started uniting Instagram and Messenger by allowing you to send contacts over both networks.

But this is just the beginning of the work, and the final goal of the social network is that you can reach your friends across all networks from any of the apps. I spoke to Loredana Crisan, Vice President of Messaging Experience on Facebook, about the company’s vision for messaging services in the years to come.

Facebook is pursuing a “platform and service” approach for this. That means you can use any platform of your choice and still chat with your friends using the underlying services.

The first step is to make Instagram DMs look like Messenger. You can still use the latter to initiate some conversations or check your other inboxes, but you don’t always have to use it for all interactions.

Crisan said Messenger is the social app powered by an Instagram or Facebook account that controls all feed and sharing interactions. This is in contrast to WhatsApp, which requires a phone number to create an account and accesses your address book to get contacts.

Although there is no direct interaction between Messenger / Instagram DMs and WhatsApp, Crisan said that Facebook wants to make this possible in the future:

We want to make Messenger interoperable with WhatsApp so that you can send messages back and forth, just like connecting email and different email accounts.

She added that WhatsApp users have a choice of how to interact with social networks (Facebook and Instagram). WhatsApp released a controversial update to its privacy policy earlier this year, paving the way for the Facebook family of apps to share certain data with them in the future.

Crisan emphasized that all of these functions are included in the security of end-to-end encryption. Currently, only WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption for all interactions in the app. Messenger rolled out a security update for voice and video calling in August.

The Facebook manager said the north star for the company in terms of messaging is that the person can quickly see and act on your message no matter which app they are using.

While the Instagram and Messenger merger seems to be going well for the company, WhatsApp integration will be the toughest and most controversial challenge. The aforementioned WhatsApp policy change sparked a huge wave of criticism and the company had to back down on many fronts.

Therefore, when preparing to introduce this feature, it must provide users with detailed information about how their data will be used. Otherwise, prepare for chaos.

Loredana Crisan will speak at TNW Conference 2021, which will take place on September 30th and October 1st. There are also 150 other experts who share their latest findings from the world of business and technology.

Did you know that we have a consumer tech newsletter? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

About Katie Curtis

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