Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbergplans to integrate the basic messaging infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger services and include end-to-end encryption in these applications by 2020. However, applications will continue to evolve separately.
After innovations, a Facebook user, for example, will be able to send an encrypted message to a person who uses only WhatsApp.
Some former security engineersFacebook and a third-party encryption expert said that this plan could be good news for user privacy, in particular, through the expansion of end-to-end encryption. But, any integration of metadata is likely to allow Facebook to learn more about users by linking identifiers, such as phone numbers and email addresses, to those who use the services independently. Facebook can use this data to charge more for advertising and targeted services, although it will also have to stop advertising based on the content of messages in Messenger and Instagram.
Messenger allows strangers to contact people without knowing their phone numbers, for example, increasing the risk of harassment, including children.
Phone number based systems have additional privacy concerns, as governments and other organizations can easily extract location information from them.