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Last year WhatsApp founder Jan Koum suddenly resigned from his position at Facebook, reportedly over privacy issues.
Today, in a report from the New York Times, the other shoe dropped, as it was revealed that Facebook plans to integrate Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp in one unifying system using the same protocol and presumably back-end. According to the report, all the services would now use end to end encryption, but other privacy concerns have worried WhatsApp employees so much they have or are planning to leave.
The Times writes:
On Dec. 7, employees gathered around microphones at WhatsApp’s offices to ask Mr. 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 Mr. Zuckerberg’s plans, the people said.
Currently, unlike other services, WhatsApp does not retain messages, and users are able to sign up using only a phone number, rather than anything more identifiable.
The Times notes that integrating the services, such that one user can message another on a different app, as is the plan, would result in a massive network (around 4 billion users) which Facebook would be better able to monetize. WhatsApp employees reportedly, however, saw little evidence that the integration would allow the service to spread into USA, where the highest value users are.
No timeline for the integration has been revealed, though it is reportedly a priority for Mark Zuckerberg.
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.”
“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.”
What do our readers think of this impending move? Let us know below.