The differences between Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are melting away. If you thought deleting your Facebook account would finally free you from your great uncle’s update. We’ve terrible news: Facebook is linking DMs on its platform to DMs on Instagram.
That means someone can use a Facebook account to message you on Instagram, albeit you don’t have Facebook and the other way around. It’s a part of a corporate effort called “interop:” Facebook wants to tie together the suite of social apps it owns, Facebook.com, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, into one big, happy family.
Meet the new Facebook mega app
On Tuesday, Facebook introduced “Accounts Center,” a dashboard that allows you to jointly manage your Instagram and Facebook account with one universal login. The change might sound a touch administrative, but it represents a PR shift for both companies. Instagram and WhatsApp once prided themselves on their independence from Zuck. But last August, the apps started describing themselves as “from Facebook” for the first time.
You might also love to read:
The timing isn’t a coincidence.
The FTC is reportedly preparing legal action against Facebook. On the one hand, bundling its apps protects it from regulators: Per the NY Times, “the more Facebook knits its apps together, the harder it’s for a government to interrupt it up.”
But there’s also a risk of backlash.
Last year, a poll showed that only 29% of individuals knew that Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram. That knowledge gap may need made users more sympathetic to Facebook’s side. But now there’s no doubt about exactly how massive Facebook is.
Combined, its apps now represent a complete of ~2.5B users (or ~⅓ of the world’s population). Within the worst scenario for the corporate, a giant swath of the general public might side against it in an antitrust argument.