Facebook's plan to integrate Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram could be harder than it looks


WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton speaks on end-to-end encryption at the Wired25 San Francisco conference on Friday.

Getty Images for WIRED

Facebook confirmed this year that it is working to add an additional level of security to its messaging services to allow WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram users to send messages among themselves without switching apps.

Like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram messages are also encrypted throughout, which means messages can not be viewed by anyone outside the sender and recipient. The three apps would still be separate, but will be grouped under a single messaging platform or messaging protocol. For Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and his team, it might be harder to implement the plan than it seems.

"Mark has taken on a huge assignment, and I think it will take years," said Brian Acton, WhatsApp co-founder and executive chairman of the Signal Foundation at the Wired25 conference in San Francisco on Friday. "The proof will really be in the pudding."

In January the New York Times reported Facebook has set itself the goal of completing work by the end of this year or early 2020 Facebook spokeswoman had no update on the project.

Facebook's Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger Completely Encrypt has expressed concerns that it would be harder for law enforcement agencies to solve child abuse crimes. Last month, government officials from the UK, the US and Australia asked Facebook to stop this effort.

Internally, Facebook managers have reportedly talked with Zuckerberg about plans to merge WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Two of these executives, Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and Chris Daniels, who heads the Facebook-powered WhatsApp messaging app, announced they would leave Facebook in March in elections for more encryption. While bad actors will find ways to abuse technology, good actors, such as lawyers, journalists, doctors, activists and the press, need more protection.

"We need more security, we do not need less," said Acton.

Acton, whose tweet "It's Time. #Deletefacebook" became viral last year, also said it was people's "personal choice" if they wanted to stop using the social network.

"If you want to be on Facebook and have ads in front of you, go to town, I mean, that's your choice," he said.

He added that tech companies should explore other business models outside of advertising, with which Facebook earns the most money, because it does not necessarily improve the product.

"There should be more business model innovation on the Internet in general," said Acton.

Originally posted on November 8, 12:55 pm PT.
Update, 13:33 pm PT: Adds a response from Facebook.

Source link