How do you kill off apps as popular as WhatsApp and Instagram? Facebook may have just figured it out.
The company has decided to rename WhatsApp and Instagram − wait for it − ‘WhatsApp from Facebook’ and ‘Instagram from Facebook’, to make it clearer that the two extremely popular apps are owned by a company that not only lost its cool a long time ago, but is now widely despised.
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A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the move to The Information over the weekend, saying: “We want to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook.”
The publication reports that the new ‘from Facebook’ branding is set to appear on the listings of both WhatsApp and Instagram in app stores, and will also show up when users open the respective apps.
It seems to be a strange move from Mark Zuckerberg and co. Facebook’s reputation has taken a hammering over the past few years, yet WhatsApp and Instagram are going very strong.
The Facebook link has historically been a little clearer on Instagram. In the current version of the app, there’s an option in the Settings menu called ‘Open Facebook’. There’s no such thing in WhatsApp though.
Up to now, though, neither of the two apps have made it blindingly obvious that they’re part of the Facebook family. In other words, not making it overtly clear that they’re run by Facebook hasn’t exactly done WhatsApp or Instagram any harm.
However, the move may have something to do with Facebook’s plans to link Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, to allow users to message each other across the three platforms.
“We believe it should be easier to reach your friends that are just on Facebook or just on WhatsApp, so we’re working on building an interoperable messaging network,” Asha Sharma, Messenger’s head of consumer product, told Trusted Reviews earlier this year.
Related: How to delete an Instagram account
“We believe that the future is not just privacy-focused but an interoperable network, to be able to communicate with your friends who just use Instagram or just use Facebook.”
The process is expected to be complete by the end of 2019, or in early 2020.
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, before dropping $19 billion on WhatsApp in 2014.