By Bradley Prior for MyBroadband
Facebook is looking at integrating WhatsApp into Facebook Messenger, according to a report by WABetaInfo.
The report cited developer Alessandro Paluzzi, who found references within Facebook code regarding the integration of these Facebook-owned services.
“In particular, Facebook is creating some tables in a local database in order to manage messages and services with other WhatsApp users,” said WABetaInfo.
Properties found within Facebook Messenger’s code would reportedly allow Messenger to understand if WhatsApp contacts are blocked, the sounds used by push notifications, and details of WhatsApp chats like phone numbers, message counters, and whether the chat is archived.
Notably, however, Facebook does not currently have properties that allow it access to the content of chats, members of a specific group, and profile pictures of contacts.
WABetaInfo said that while Facebook can’t currently collect WhatsApp messages, if this feature continues to be developed, it is likely that Facebook will hold WhatsApp messages in the aforementioned local database in the future.
“Since WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, it’s likely that Facebook will import the Signal protocol to encrypt and decrypt messages, already used by WhatsApp,” added WABetaInfo.
However, the website noted that since this is still under development, all of this may still change, or be destroyed completely.
Paluzzi also claimed that Instagram is looking to integrate Facebook Messenger into the Instagram app.
New WhatsApp features
WhatsApp recently announced a number of new features, including the implementation of dark mode for desktop versions of the messaging platform.
Group chats of up to eight members can now start a group video call with all members in just one tap.
Other features that are being added to WhatsApp in coming weeks include:
- Animated stickers – New animated sticker packs will be added to WhatsApp.
- QR codes – Instead of having to type someone’s number into their contact list, users will be able to scan each others’ QR codes and automatically add the user to their contacts.
- Statuses on KaiOS – Users who are operating WhatsApp on devices that use KaiOS will get access to WhatsApp’s Status feature.
By Sarah Frier for Bloomberg/Fin24
Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg is planning to integrate the chat tools on the WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger services, a move that could help the social media giant identify users’ identities across all of its properties, and bolster its case against a breakup by regulators.
Zuckerberg’s plans, reported earlier by the New York Times, would involve stitching together the three apps’ messaging products behind the scenes, though consumers would still interact with each service separately. Facebook says the move would also enhance users’ privacy by introducing encryption to protect the messages from being viewed by anyone except those involved in the conversation.
“People want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private,” Facebook said in a statement. “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 move isn’t something that Facebook’s more than 2 billion users have been asking for. Stitching the apps together may increase data-sharing among the properties, helping Facebook identify users across the platform, and improve the ability to target ads to them.
WhatsApp currently allows a person to create an account simply with a phone number, while Instagram allows people to have multiple anonymous accounts without using their real names. Zuckerberg’s vision centres around a service based on real identity.
WhatsApp, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $19bn, and Instagram, which was purchased in 2012 for $715m, had been operated relatively independently within Facebook until they grew to become more important parts of Facebook’s business.
Tensions around Zuckerberg’s pushes for integration and control led to the departures of founders of both services in the last year, people familiar with the matter have said. Last year, Zuckerberg started calling his portfolio a “family of apps.”
Another potential argument for bringing the three units more firmly into the parental fold is the threat of a regulatory breakup of Facebook.
Progressive groups have been urging the Federal Trade Commission for months to carve up Facebook and split off Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger into their own companies. That would be harder to accomplish if the services are more tightly entwined.
At the same time, it may increase concerns about transparency for consumers around how Facebook’s data gathering works.
By Annie Palmer for DailyMail
Facebook will soon be able to notify you if Russian trolls are sliding into your DMs.
The social media giant is testing a new feature that will include additional information from unfamiliar contacts who have direct messaged you on Facebook Messenger, showing things like when the account was created and the country where their phone number is registered.
It marks Facebook’s latest effort to stave off the spread of fake news on its platform.
Should the feature become available to the public, it would help prevent users from receiving potentially malicious or spammy messages from unknown users.
“We are testing a way to provide people with more context on folks they may not have connected with previously,” Facebook Messenger spokesperson Dalya Browne told Motherboard.
“This is just a small test,” she adds.