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Ever since Mark Zuckerberg hinted about the merging of WhatsApp Facebook and Instagram, people’s queries have blasted on Google, Quora etc. There are never-ending debates happening while many of them are unsure about the fuss. So after examining a lot of articles, we present you an easy-to-read detailed article and try to solve a few queries keeping in mind the non-tech-geek users.

What’s going to happen?

Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram will be merging so that they can share their resources. Now these apps are so popular that doubts and debates poured heavily ever after.

What changes you might see?

As a regular user, you won’t see any change until 2020 as per schedule. Until then, all the 3 apps will work as standalone apps as we use now. After that, you might send a text to someone’s WhatsApp directly through the Instagram profile. Similarly, you might be able to send messages to someone’s WhatsApp through messenger.

Facebook WhatsApp Instagram Merge

How will it work?

If the 3 widely popular apps merge together, there’ll be a lot of features available. Now this merging will happen only for the “TEXT”-based codebase only. So it isn’t like your profile pictures everywhere will be in sync.

It means that, you might send encrypted messages currently supported by only WhatsApp, in Messenger also.

What is end-to-end encryption and why?

End-to-end encryption means your messages are private, as simple as that. Suppose you send a message as “I Love You” to someone. The message won’t save like “I Love You”, but it’ll change to “gbwgb2764821b3j1j%&$$@dsda” or something random like this. Now the example here is random, but the process isn’t. Only WhatsApp knows how to decrypt the message “I Love You” from “gbwgb2764821b3j1j%&$$@dsda”. And encryptions are one-way algorithms. Means that the case isn’t that some random WhatsApp employee will be able to decrypt the message.

End to end encryption

Encryption algorithms are usually designed in parts, so no one employee knows the whole algorithm. Also, as you can already apprehend, manual decryption is nowhere near possible.

Which apps support encryption?

As of now, among the 3 apps, only WhatsApp natively supports end-to-end encryption. Messenger has this as optional feature and Instagram Direct doesn’t have this.

So after the merge, it will be possible to send encrypted messages everywhere.

Facebook about encryption?

In a statement, Facebook said it wanted to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.” It added: “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.”

Encryption Algorithms

Downside of Encryption: Fake news and false rumors:

So at this point we understand why encryption is important. But it also has a big downside. WhatsApp and Facebook are a huge platform of fake news. Governments and organisations trying to stop fake news, has always blamed Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg has apoligised a thousand times for these issues.

Now we need to understand that if fake news is being circulated, the fault is of the individual or the organization spreading false rumors. To be honest, we should not blame Facebook only practically. But organisations cannot blame people, but can accuse Facebook. Facebook is time and again forced to deploy algorithms to stop fake news over WhatsApp and Facebook.

Now the question is, if we use encrypted messages and none can read those, not even Facebook/ WhatsApp itself, how will they recognise which news is fake and which is not? It is easy to blame someone but there’s still a lot to think about.

Facebook WhatsApp Instagram communication

Practical evidence of end-to-end encryption’s downside?

Last year, researchers had difficulties tracking disinformation on WhatsApp ahead of the Brazilian presidential election, before eventually finding ways to do so. Supreme Court of India has also asked WhatsApp to deploy measures to stop false rumours before the Indian Election, 2019. WhatsApp has recently placed limits on how many times a message can be forwarded on its service, in an attempt to reduce the distribution of false content.

“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,” Facebook said in a statement.

Is Facebook innocent?

Ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has suffered huge losses in terms of revenue and trust. Now the merging means Facebook will gain unrestricted access to any user’s whole lifestyle. Where you live, where you go, when you took your lunch, your address, interests, education, age, phone numbers and every detail possible. Now these are serious privacy issues and Facebook needs to address them properly. There should be clear rules about what Facebook can use and what they cannot. As you clearly understand, by now, these restrictions and proper rules over Facebook doesn’t properly exist.

Monetary benefit of Facebook:

WhatsApp used to charge users an yearly fee before Facebook acquired it. It now runs for free and without ads, seamlessly. So where is the revenue coming from? WhatsApp gives user data to Facebook and Facebook uses them to personalise ads. Undoubtedly, WhatsApp and Instagram generates a lot less revenue for Facebook than Facebook itself. Merging them together will allow Facebook to have a genaralised and personalised approach to ads and revenues.

Vision of Facebook and future aspects:

Merging the apps will lead to a better ecosystem. We have always refered to Apple’s ecosystems and how strong they are. Apple’s own apps interacts with each other seamlessly. You just touch your Airpods to your iPhone and boom! It’s paired. That’s how strong Apple’s ecosystem is.

By stitching the apps’ infrastructure together, Zuckerberg wants to increase the utility of the social network, keeping its billions of users highly engaged inside its ecosystem. If people turn more regularly to Facebook-owned properties for texting, they may forgo rival messaging services, such as those from Apple and Google, said the people, who declined to be identified because the moves are confidential. If users interact more frequently with Facebook’s apps, the company may also be able to build up its advertising business or add new services to make money, they said.

Facebook’s rival messaging services such as Google’s or Tencents are growing quickly. WeChat currently owned by Tencent is the most popular in China. In USA, Apple’s FaceTime and iMessage are widely used. Creating it’s own ecosystem will help Facebook to maintain it’s userbase and cut-down switching.

monetary benefit

What issues you might face?

There are users who use these 3 apps isolatedly. Merging the 3 of them might make them uncomfortable. Someone who is your Facebook friend might WhatsApp you even if you don’t want to have him/her in WhatsApp. You can always block them, but the inconvenience will be great. We need to see how Facebook addresses these issues.

Is Zuckerberg’s visions changing?

At the time Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp, Zuckerberg promised those 2 apps plenty of autonomy from its parent company. (Facebook Messenger was a homegrown messaging service, spun out of the main Facebook app in 2014.)

WhatsApp and Instagram have since grown tremendously, prompting a change in Zuckerberg’s thinking, said one of the people. He now believes tighter integration will benefit Facebook’s entire “family of apps” over the long term. It’ll make them more useful, the person said. Zuckerberg had floated the integration idea for months and began promoting it more heavily to employees toward the end of last year.

Facebook Marketplace profit:

When the apps are knitted together, Facebook Marketplace buyers and sellers in Southeast Asia would be able to reach out and communicate with each other using WhatsApp — which is popular there — rather than using Facebook Messenger or another, non-Facebook text messaging service. Eventually, that could lead to new ad opportunities or services for profit, said one of the people.

What are the employee’s takes?

The employee’s takes are references from here.

The effort has caused internal strife. Instagram’s founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, abruptly left Facebook last fall after Zuckerberg began weighing in more. WhatsApp’s founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, departed for similar reasons. More recently, dozens of WhatsApp employees clashed with Zuckerberg over the integration plan on internal message boards during a contentious staff meeting in December.

Within Facebook, some employees said they were confused as to why Zuckerberg found putting the messaging services together so compelling. Some said it was jarring because of his past promises about independence. When Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, Koum talked publicly about user privacy and said, “If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it.”

Employees

To assuage concerns, Zuckerberg called a follow-up meeting with WhatsApp employees later in the week. On December 7, employees gathered around microphones at WhatsApp’s offices to ask Zuckerberg why he was so invested in merging the services. Some said his answers were vague and meandering. Several WhatsApp employees have left or plan to leave because of Zuckerberg’s plans.

Estimation of user-base:

One WhatsApp employee then ran an analysis on the number of potential new US users that the integration plan could bring to Facebook, said two people familiar with the study. The amount was relatively meager, the analysis showed. However, the results might vary in different regions after we have hands on finalised reports.

Facebook WhatsApp Instagram userbase

Conclusion:

There are particular pros and cons for the merge. If Facebook is successful in addressing the issues that arises, it might be benficial. Facebook needs to work on their privacy policy laws to ensure no further problems, neither for the users nor the firm itself. But as per current situation, privacy is still the biggest concern and Facebook doesn’t have a good history in preserving that. The implementation has still time. Hence, Facebook should also be given a fair-share of time to explain things rather than us accusing the firm by estimation only.


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