Facebook is reportedly planning to integrate chats from its three major properties: WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

This was reported Friday by The New York Times. A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the report’s findings via a written statement to the newspaper.

The different chats should be merged sometime in 2020.

According to sources, Facebook’s boss and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg recently summoned WhatsApp employees to announce the merging of the company’s messagings services.

They balked at the plan, the article reads:

On December 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.

If Facebook proceeds with the plan, customers will be able to start a chat with another user irrespective of whether they’re on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram. As an example, a Messenger user could start chatting with a friend of Instagram, or vice versa. In another instance, a WhatsApp user would be able to chat directly with a contact on Instagram.

From the article:

By stitching the apps’ infrastructure together, Mr. Zuckerberg wants to increase the utility of the social network, keeping its billions of users highly engaged inside its ecosystem. If people turn more regularly to Facebook-owned properties for texting, they may forgo rival messaging services, such as those from Apple and Google, said the people, who declined to be identified because the moves are confidential. 

Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp will remain separate apps: the company will not merge them into a unified mega-app for chatting.

This integration would include end-to-end encryption to protect communications as the messages are transmitted between the three different chat services.

It was however unclear at post time how this would work in practice considering that people go by their real name on Facebook versus the anonymity that Instagram and WhatsApp provide.

Today, WhatsApp requires people to register only a phone number to sign up for the service. By contrast, Facebook and Facebook Messenger ask users to provide their real identities. Matching Facebook and Instagram users to their WhatsApp handles could give pause to those who prefer keeping their use of each app compartmentalized.

Is this a good idea, do you think?

Let us know in the comments!