Users may eventually be able to receive WhatsApp messages on Facebook Messenger and Instagram, as the tech giant begins the process of linking the trio of apps.
A personal pet project kickstarted by Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg is moving towards integrating the apps so that they are more intuitive, prompting users to spend more time on them.
For now, the apps will remain separate although the plans involve them being linked at a deeper level to allow messages to travel between them. It is thought to be the social network’s attempts to tackle Google and Apple’s integrated systems.
The New York Times reports that the process will be complete by the start of 2020.
“We want to build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private,” said Facebook in a statement.
“We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”
The BBC report that the tech giant’s plans are part of a “long process” after it paid $1 billion (£629m) for Instagram in 2012, and forked out$19 billion (£11.4bn) for WhatsApp two years later.