Zuckerbeg Emulates The WeChat Business Model With The Merging Of Facebook, Whatsapp And Instagram
Facebook has revealed plans to integrate all its messaging platform services like the WeChat Business model for Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp into a single system. The move would mean that all of the apps would have end-to-end encryption, which protects messages being viewed by anyone except the people using the services.
1. Why Facebook, Whatsapp And Instagram Plan To Merge?
The apps in the west, unlike WeChat’s all-inclusive model function independently from the other. WeChat on the other hand is a one stop shop app for the Chinese that integrates the messenger, hotel, travel bookings, shopping, music consumption etc. In our previous blog, we mentioned how China’s digital revenue model is completely different from that of the western world’s digital landscape and this move is one of the earliest indications that Zuckerberg might just be following WeChat’s footsteps with his move this time.
2. Does The Whatsapp Merger With Facebook Put Your Privacy At Risk?
Mark indicated that the merger of facebook and whatsapp will maintain the privacy of the user but left out Instagram in the process. Let’s dissect the encryption model to be able to tell if the privacy will be secure of not.
Currently Whatsapp is the only app that supports end-to-end encryption by default, while facebook messenger users need to switch the ‘ secret conversations’ feature on and Instagram users get no such option at all. What happens if an Instagram user messages a Whatsapp user? There will be an expectation from the Whatapp user that all their messages are encrypted across the entire communication process, but Instagram messages aren’t encrypted at the moment. Will the new platform impose default end-to-end encryption for all users, regardless of which service they are utilising?
3. Is The Facebook, Whatsapp And Instagram Merger Positive/Negative?
Advantages – The advantages are mainly convenience of use through one channel, instead of multiple switching (similar to WeChat’s messenger model). The integration promises ease of use to the older generation and consistency of use for better advertising options across all platforms.
A Facebook spokesman said: “We want to build the best messaging experiences we can, and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private. 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.”
Disadvantages – Lack of privacy springing from facebook’s hacked history threatens the privacy of current users as a result of which they’re quitting facebook in droves and looking for alternate messaging platforms like Viber, Telegram, Signal, Wickr etc.
4. Are WeChat’s Messages Encrypted?
As of 2019, WeChat has added message cryptography to the official account platform which gives the users a choice for their privacy. Common messages, event messages and server messages pushed to a developer’s backend systems from WeChat users or from the WeChat Official Accounts System are encrypted.
The merger as of today is in the approval phase. The commission that regulates facebook in the European union says that it understands the company’s plans which are still at the development stage but asserts that it will be seeking ‘early assurance’ to ensure that the plans comply with the GDPR, The European Union’s far reaching privacy. The union is known to have put a halt to facebook when it attempted to share personal user data gathered by Whatsapp in 2016.
WeChat as an all-purpose app has had an integration model ever since its inception and its users don’t see it as a threat to their privacy because it helps them achieve their tasks within a shorter time frame. Marketers on the other hand find it convenient to advertise on the platform and streamline digital communication because of easy access to data.