Facebook to merge messaging services, triggers antitrust concerns

Facebook, the leading social networking platform, is reportedly planning to combine the technical infrastructure of three of its messaging service platforms – Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Reports state that the latest move is likely to seek the attention of regulators, given that the social media company is already under intense political and legal scrutiny.

Sources with the knowledge of the matter stated that although Facebook plans to integrate WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram, the apps are most likely to continue functioning as individual services.

As per genuine sources, Facebook has been facing pressure from foreign actors over its manipulation and privacy concerns. A Canadian representative at a recent international lawmakers’ hearing in the UK pointed antitrust to be the effective solution to Facebook’s issues.

Ro Khanna, a US representative, was quoted saying that there should have been additional scrutiny during Facebook’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, which currently appear to be horizontal mergers prompting antitrust scrutiny.

According to a report by Financial Express, Facebook’s Chief Executive & Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg is looking to merge the three social messaging apps, given the slow growth of Facebook followed by two hectic years for the company seeing fake news, privacy issue, and political scandals. Through the integration of these apps, Zuckerberg intends to keep its users intact within Facebook’s ecosystem, preventing them from switching to Apple or Google services.

The plan is still in its early stages and is slated to be completed by 2019 or early 2020.

Daniel Crane, Law Professor at the University of Michigan, said that the integration of the back-end technology of the messaging services must not be a significant factor in current antitrust issue. According to him, the bigger issue is how Facebook had been allowed to own three social media applications.

For the record, Facebook is not the only tech giant under regulatory spotlight. Google was earlier fined huge amounts by European regulators as it had allegedly abused its position as a mobile and search engine platform.