The New York Times reported that Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has been planning to unify the underlying messaging infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram as well as Facebook Messenger services with the aim of incorporating end-to-end encryption in these apps.
The three services will still remain to be stand-alone apps.
Facebook said that it has been working on adding end-to-end encryption, which will protect the user’s messages from being viewed by anyone except the two people in a conversation and this will also make it easy to connect to networks.
A spokesperson said- “There is a lot of discussion and debate which is going on as we have started the long process of figuring out the details of how it would work.“
After changes, Facebook users will be able to send encrypted messages to people who only have a WhatsApp account.
Sam Weinstein, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law said- “Integrating the messaging services might as well make it difficult for antitrust regulators to break up Facebook by undoing their acquisitions of WhatsApp. If Facebook has been worried regarding the way it can defend itself by integrating those services.”
The former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos, who currently teaches at Stanford University said- “I have been cautiously optimistic it since I feel it is a good thing. My fear had been that they would drop their end-to-end encryption. It should all be an open process since they can’t have it all. Other major tradeoffs might have to be made as well. I hope Facebook will get public input from terrorism experts, child safety officers, privacy advocates, as well as others and it could be much more transparent in its reasoning skills while taking decisions on such details.“
Any metadata integration might allow Facebook to learn more about their users, by linking identifiers such as phone numbers and email addresses for those who use these services independently.
Facebook might be able to use this data to charge a higher price for advertising and targeted services, but it also might have to forgo their ads which would be based on message content in Messenger and Instagram.
Messenger will allow strangers to contact people without a person’s knowledge of their phone numbers, and this could potentially increase stalking risk and approach to children.
Systems that have been based on phone numbers will provide additional privacy concerns since the governments and other entities will be involved and could easily extract location information from them.