That’s as far as messaging goes, anyway. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Facebook was planning on integrating the messaging portion of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, giving users a one-stop-shop for all of their messaging needs. But it sounds like the Federal Trade Commission has other plans.
A new report from The Wall Street Journal today suggests that the FTC is considering placing an injunction on Facebook and how its apps interact. The report indicates that lawmakers are growing uneasy about the potential size of something like this, and if a future antitrust case cropped up it may be even more difficult to break up the apps under Facebook’s umbrella.
The primary method the FTC is going for here in its potential injunction is competition. And if the FTC wants this to move forward, than three of its five commissioners to vote in favor.
This is how Mark Zuckerberg’s plans were initially described back in January of this year:
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.
If this does move forward, the original report notes that an injunction could arrive sometime in January of next year.
On the surface, the move on Facebook’s part certainly makes sense. Integrating the ridiculously popular apps could indeed make it less desirable for users to use other messaging services. And of course, it isn’t surprising that officials might not take too kindly to Facebook consolidating its resources in this way.
Facebook is already under investigation by the FTC, which kicked off in the middle of last year, over antitrust violations. So the officials considering any future antitrust issues in this decision isn’t a shock, either.
Still, if you use any of these services would you prefer to have them integrated or kept separate?