That will all change in the future, as Facebook is reportedly in the process of rebuilding its software infrastructure to allow cross-platform messaging from any of its standalone properties to another. According to reporting by the New York Times, the software rewrite is currently in its infancy and might not be made public until late 2019 or early 2020.
By tying its various properties together with the ability to easily connect with billions of people, Facebook is looking to drive user engagement and dissuade users from using texting platforms from Google or Apple's iMessage. In the end, it all about advertising dollars and finding better ways to monetize its user base.
Given all of the privacy-related scandals that have engulfed Facebook over the past year, the idea that the company is looking to exert even more control by merging the messaging platforms may be a bit disconcerting. However, the report says that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has demanded that all of the apps support end-to-end encryption for increased security.
While the messaging components of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram will be linked in the future, each will remain their own separate app for the foreseeable future.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Facebook could be subject to a record fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It's expected that the fine will far exceed the $22.5 million levied against Google in 2012.
The fine would be handed out for Facebook's part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal that resulted in the pilfering of personal data from nearly 90 million users without their permission. "The agency now has the legal authority, the evidence, and the public support to act. There can be no excuse for further delay," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, in reference to the FTC's penalty process for Facebook.