We already know that Facebook is planning to merge its different messaging platforms to allow users to communicate across platforms. This mean users from one platform can communicate with users from another messaging platform without leaving the app. Ever since the company revealed this plan, a majority of users have chimed in on how this move will impact the privacy and security on these platforms. This is significant because the messaging platforms that we are talking about here include WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, and Facebook Messenger. These platforms are among the most popular messaging platforms commanding millions of users across the globe.
The company is not rolling out the integration immediately and some reports indicated that the integrated system will launch sometime in 2020. This likely means that currently, the internal infrastructure of the messaging platforms is not capable of talking with other platforms. Facebook has not confirmed or shared any information on how it is planning to integrate these platforms but from the looks of it, the move is expected to cause more concern in the future.
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According to McAfee, this move is likely to impact the privacy of users in a significant way regardless of the presence of end-to-end encryption between apps. On top of that, all three platforms will continue to function as independent apps as the company pushes for increased engagement. The report highlights the issue where the fundamental differences between these platforms may be a problem. For instance, the company noted that WhatsApp just requires the phone number to work while Facebook requires a much larger amount of data to work. In the long run, this may result in more data being shared with WhatsApp.
The company highlighted that though this move is likely to impact user data privacy, there are a number of ways that users can ensure that their data is better protected on the internet. According to the blog post, users should be selective about what they share on the platforms while updating their privacy settings. Users should also make sure that the apps on their devices are updated and they exercise caution while clicking links on the internet. The company also advised users to install security software on their devices to stay secure.