Instagram and WhatsApp to get a Facebook makeover

As part of a Facebook re-brand, the two social media platforms in the Facebook Group, Instagram and WhatsApp, are getting renamed. The two popular apps are soon to be known as ‘Instagram by Facebook’ and ‘WhatsApp by Facebook’ respectively.

This change comes as part of a broader effort to pull all three social media platforms together under the Facebook brand.

For a long time, consumers have seen the three apps are separate from each other. Even when Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014, users didn’t see a change in the way they used the sites and Facebook let them run for the most part as they were.

Why did Facebook buy the apps in the first place?

When Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion – $300 million in cash and the rest in Facebook stock – Mark Zuckerberg made the following statement:

“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”

From this, it appears that Facebook saw Instagram as a competitor growing in user numbers that flocked to the app from a weakness in Facebook’s own photo sharing features.

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, which was seen at the time as a staggering price tag given the app’s monetary value and small popularity outside of America. However, it was reported that Facebook bought the app as it saw it as a threat to Facebook and could push it out in due time.

What will the re-brand mean?

Facebook said in a statement that the decision was made “to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook”.

Not only will the names link the apps, but their features are set to as well. Zuckerberg announced that Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram users will be able to send messages between each platform to each other. “We want to give people a choice so they can reach their friends across these networks from whichever app they prefer,” the Facebook CEO said.

The privacy settings of the three apps are also said to get an overhaul with a push to be a more privacy-focused platform. In a blog post by Zuckerberg titled, ‘A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking’, he lays out the principles that the joint platforms will be built around: private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability and secure data storage.

He explains, “I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”

Zuckerberg said these changes are to be taking place “over the next year and beyond” as “more details and tradeoffs to work through related to each of these principles”.

One thing is for sure, there will be lots to keep our eyes on in the future of social media.