Facebook recently revealed plans to merge your WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger threads so you could easily message people across these services, and now CEO Mark Zuckerberg has laid out his rationale for making this controversial move.

First of all, this integration isn’t looming on the horizon just yet—Facebook says combining these threads into a unified platform would likely not show up until 2020 at the earliest.

Zuckerberg said on Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings call:

The integration that we’re thinking about, we’re really early in thinking through this. There’s a lot more we need to figure out.

The Verge has more:

Zuckerberg also provided a few examples as to why users would want a combined service, highlighting awkward cases where someone might use the marketplace feature on Facebook, but then have to jump over to WhatsApp for messaging.

He also highlighted the possibility that Messenger—and the combined WhatsApp/Instagram system—could serve as an iMessage-like layer for SMS that would offer more functionality and security.

The original article published this week in The New York Times argued that the change would broaden the availability of end-to-end encryption protecting the messages as they’re transmitted between the three different chat services.

The whole idea behind this unified messaging platform builds down to increasing the stickiness and the utility of these ecosystems by stitching their infrastructure together.

Facebook obviously wants to leverage the three separate messaging services to maybe motivate people to turn more regularly to these properties for texting. Still, it’s questionable if customers would forgo rival messaging services from Apple and Google just because Facebook has created an “iMessage-like layer for SMS”

What are your thoughts on this?

Meet us in comments!