Plans to merge Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are reportedly underway.
WhatsApp blog WABetaInfo has identified an update in the code of Facebook Messenger suggesting the integration is in the works.
“In particular, we’re talking about the possibility to communicate with a user that uses a different Facebook app, in this case between two users having WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger,” the blog said.
“Some important references were found about this integration: in particular Facebook is creating some tables in a local database, in order to manage messages and services with other WhatsApp users.”
According to WABetaInfo, the change does not mean Facebook is currently collecting WhatsApp messages.
The planned integration does not come as a shock.
Last year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined plans to merge all of Facebook’s messaging platforms Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into an interoperable service.
“What our engineers are thinking about to execute this vision is the consumer, and how to make it as easy as possible for the consumer to pick up their phone and send a message,” a Facebook’s Dalya Browne told B&T in an interview last year.
And while Facebook now owns each of these platforms, the task of merging the messaging services presents a mammoth technical challenge for the tech giant.
Specifically, WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted – and will stay so even after a merger.
WABetaInfo has theorised a workaround for Facebook when it comes to these WhatsApp message.
“Being WhatsApp messages end-to-end encrypted, it’s likely that Facebook will import the Signal protocol to encrypt and decrypt messages, already used by WhatsApp,” the site said.
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