Facebook has announced its plans to integrate three of the world's largest messaging apps, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
The platforms, which will continue to operate as stand-alone apps, have between them more than 2.6 billion users and the new structure will allow people to communicate cross-platform for the first time. This will mean that users on Facebook for example will be able to send a message to a user of another platform without needing to switch apps. According to people involved in the development, this will be achieved by unifying the technical infrastructure of the three services.
Facebook stated that its aim is to "build the best messaging experiences we can", adding that "people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private."
The plans reportedly come straight from the company's CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg as part of an effort to unite the messaging services in the wake of a rocky year following the very public resignations of the founders of both Instagram and WhatsApp. Zuckerberg's interference with the companies is rumored to have been the key reason behind the resignations.
The plan will involve thousands of employees reconfiguring the very basic workings of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger – a mammoth task which is likely to be completed by the end of 2019 or early 2020.