Facebook has been talking about merging its services with WhatsApp and Instagram for some time – but it looks like the first stage is complete.
Users in the United States have reporting seeing an option on Instagram to merge the chatting feature with Facebook Messenger. Additionally, some are being notified to join the two accounts together to take advantage of additional chat features.
According to US tech site, the Verge, once you agree to the update the DM icon in the top right of Instagram is replaced with the Messenger logo. Merging the two makes chats on Instagram ‘more colorful than before, with the sender’s messages shifting between blue and purple as you scroll.’
It appears that, for now at least, the tool is limited to implementing Messenger’s services to chat to Instagram friends. It’s not possible at the moment to message separate Facebook users directly from Instagram.
While combining the two services is currently an optional extra, it’s likely that the integration will be more forced in time.
This update follows news last month that WhatsApp is preparing to join forces with Facebook Messenger as well.
According to reliable WhatsApp-watcher WABetaInfo, Facebook is currently testing out cross-platform chatting.
The update was hidden in the code of Facebook Messenger so WABetaInfo says it’s unclear when this merger of the apps would take place.
‘The integration of WhatsApp into Facebook Messenger isn’t available yet,’ the site explained.
But in the future, the closer integration of the apps would mean any user with a Facebook account could reach friends through WhatsApp without having to download the app.
‘This is a very complicated feature and it requires time. We’ve no idea if the plan to merge those services will continue or if it will be abandoned,’ the site wrote.
According to the code found inside Messenger, Facebook is building a database inside the app that can store information from WhatsApp.
‘Facebook can understand if a WhatsApp contact is blocked, sounds of push notifications and the details of a chat,’ WABetaInfo said.
So it’s clear that Facebook’s plans are taking shape.
This idea to bring the services together was first mentioned last year with boss Mark Zuckerberg regarding the integration as a personal project.
At the time it was suggested that all messages sent between the three apps will be encrypted so that only the sender and recipient can see them.
In a statement, Facebook said: ‘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.’
The integration could spell big changes for users. Currently, WhatsApp only requires a phone number to set up an account, whereas Facebook requires people to use their real identity.
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