Even though Facebook acquired both Instagram and WhatsApp several years ago, the two services have operated fairly independently for a while. There has been some limited integration between the three in the form of friends and Story sharing across services, without being taken any further. Back in January, though, the company announced it's working on a unified backend for its messaging apps, and even considering cross-platform chat. But before doing so, Facebook needs everybody to know Instagram and WhatsApp are part of the company, as it wants to append its name to both services.
The rebranding won't be subtle, as the two apps will be renamed "Instagram from Facebook" and "WhatsApp from Facebook." The new appellation will be visible on application stores and within the apps, making it clear to the public they're Facebook's property. The change has been confirmed by the company spokesperson, saying they want to "want to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook."
This is a bold move, especially considering users are not as suspicious of Instagram and WhatsApp with regard to privacy as they are of Facebook. More surprisingly, the company is under antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission concerning its acquisitions, and the timing for the name change seems odd.
Facebook seems to be accelerating the integration of its messaging apps, and the rebranding could be a first step towards a more unified ecosystem. Indeed, it's also reorganizing its internal reporting lines, as the Instagram Direct team will join the Messenger one, further hinting at a more common approach to messaging across Facebook's services.
- The Information
Although the initial report from The Information stated the rebranding would appear in the app's name, it seems the "from Facebook" appellation has only made its way to the Play and App Store descriptions. We're not sure whether the company will append its name more prominently in the future, but the change seems quite subtle for the time being.