Facebook is planning to bundle its kid companies into one. Instagram bought in 2012, and WhatsApp bought in 2014, have been operating independently from the parent company Facebook, with each having their own CEOs, making it difficult for many users to know that they belong to Facebook. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg confirms that the independent era is over. The spokeswoman, Bertie Thomson, stated that it’s time to make the products and services of Facebook clearer.
“We want to be clearer about products and services that are part of Facebook.” She said.
The plan is to attach at the bottom of the login page and the setting page this statement – “Instagram from Facebook.” Another way is by merging the WhatsApp and Instagram messengers to encrypted Facebook messenger.
But the timing suggests that there is more to it. Although Zuckerberg says it waited for so long, about 3 years of intense criticism to have operational control over the two companies that have been operating separately from Facebook. The recent hearings between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice and Facebook has been suggesting otherwise.
In fact, Facebook confirmed that it has been under investigation by the agencies for possible anti-trust activities. There have been concerns that Facebook is acquiring too much power and it’s buying up competitor companies in a bid to eliminate competition. A concern that many believe could only be quelled by breaking up Facebook into segments to minimize its influence.
So the plan is likely to fuse the three apps in a bid to convince investigators that there is only one entity – Facebook. But it may likely have consequences. When Microsoft had a similar issue with its operating system and window explorer 20 years ago, government investigators claimed that Microsoft was playing dirty, that the explorer was tied to the windows in a bid to eliminate browser competition. Well, Microsoft won on appeal, but it took 4 years of legal tussle that stalled many innovations that the company would have made. Facebook is treading the same path, especially when it seems that American Regulators are rising to challenge put up by their European counterparts. Who have been constantly confronting the online tech industry on issues of best practices.
Just last month, Facebook was handed a $5 billion fine for the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach, and $100 million for not disclosing it to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). it was the highest levy given to a tech company, and Facebook accepted the fine, promising to follow FTC’s recommendation to avoid further problems.
The recent decision by Facebook to integrate the messaging services of Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger has been dividedly received. Although Zuckerberg claims he is taking the step to ensure protected privacy of users, others made us to think otherwise. Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes said the integration will make it harder for the company to break up from a technical standpoint.
A lot of key employees working with WhatsApp and Instagram have disagreed with quite a number of ways that things are going down in the companies. When Zuckerberg proposed that ads be served inside WhatsApp, the founders disagreed, it led to unresolved differences that they couldn’t take, so they left. Last year, Instagram co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left the company due to frustrations over how Zuckerberg handles things.
There seems to be more people who are going to find the exit way with this new development. Zuckerberg says that WhatsApp and Instagram have been developed to their standard using resources of Facebook, and it’s payback time. The plan, if implemented will see employees change their emails from @Instagram, @whatsapp to @facebook.com