The social media world is about to get a little smaller as Instagram and Facebook are working to merge their direct messaging systems. Engineers for the two social media platforms are rebuilding Instagram’s chat feature and they’re using Facebook Messenger as the model for the new service. To help facilitate that change, Instagram’s direct messaging staff is now reporting to the Facebook Messenger team.
The move follows up on Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement last year that users of Facebook’s properties—Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger—will be able to chat across platforms.
Many within the folds of the company have expressed concerns about bringing the different services together. Part of the popularity of the different services, they’ve said, is that they are separate, especially in light of Facebook’s recent negative press over privacy and data-sharing.
Zuckerberg argues that the other brands have been using Facebook resources to grow, so now it’s time for a little payback. Zuckerberg hasn’t exactly shied away from upsetting people in his company.
Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left because of Zuckerberg’s control, and WhatsApp’s founders also left when Zuckerberg forced the company to put advertising in the app.
For Zuckerberg’s part, he argues that the move will help improve privacy and convenience. The company plans to encrypt all chat services, which means messages will stay private and won’t be stored on Facebook servers—something WhatsApp is already doing. Zuckerberg plans to do the same for Instagram and Messenger.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, “We want to build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private. We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.
“As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work.”
Whether the move is good or not for the social media companies remains to be seen—as does just how private your chats will actually be.