- Facebook is a long way off merging the tech infrastructure for its messaging services WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, according to the company’s most senior spokesman.
- Nick Clegg, Facebook’s global policy and communications chief, said the company has a whole bunch of stuff to figure out, including how much data will be shared between services.
- The New York Times reported on Friday that Facebook planned to integrate the underlying tech behind the three messaging services.
- Clegg said Mark Zuckerberg wants to make it “easier for people to communicate.”
Facebook may be working on plans to make it easier to send messages between WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, but it’s a long way off figuring out how the idea will work in practice.
That was the message on Monday from Nick Clegg, the former British deputy prime minister, who joined Facebook as head of global policy and communications late last year.
At an event in Brussels, Clegg was asked about The New York Times’ report on Facebook’s plans to merge the infrastructure of its messaging services. He gave five reasons why the plans are still embryonic.
“It is so early days,” Clegg said. “We haven’t worked out how that will work, whether it’s workable, what regulators may or may not think about it before they jump to any conclusions, what you would need to do, how you make that work in the data infrastructure, how much data integration you need between them. I’m afraid I can’t give you much more colour.”
Clegg was, however, able to shed more light on CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s aim.
He told Politico’s European politics editor Ryan Heath: “His instinct is a simple one: Given that over time people are using a plethora of messaging apps, and that Facebook has some but by no means all of the leading messaging apps. We have got to find ways of making it easier for people to communicate across that.”
The plans are being met with resistance internally at Facebook, according to the Times. And lawmakers are already asking questions.
“I have a lot of questions about how Facebook intends to combine these services. If it does anything to weaken the security and encryption of WhatsApp, that would represent a major blow to the security of millions of people around the world,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, an outspoken voice on tech policy issues, told Business Insider.
“If Facebook is doing this so it can harvest even more our personal information for profit, it’s yet another reason to be concerned about how corporations are using our data. This is yet another reason to pass a strong privacy bill.”
You can watch the Nick Clegg event here:
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