We’ve been hearing rumors for some time now that Facebook is planning to integrate all their messaging services together. Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct Messages will be accessed cross-platform through its native apps. Now it looks like there are hidden codes inside the Facebook Messenger that is preparing for integration with WhatsApp as the first step towards this. The question now would be which encryption (or non-encryption) will it honor or would Messenger also be getting encryption soon?
According to WABetaInfo, they were able to see the code buried in the Messenger app indicating that it is preparing to accept messages from WhatsApp users. This means both messaging platforms will be able to talk to one another without necessarily having both apps on the device. The chances of a user having either WhatsApp or Messenger is pretty high as they are the top two messaging apps in the world right now.
Based on the code that they were able to find, Messenger will be able to understand if a WhatsApp contact is blocked, details of a chat (number, message counter, if chat is archived), and sounds of push notifications. What it will not be able to see is the content of the message itself, members of a group, and profile pictures of the contact. The database also looks like the messages will be stored to the user’s device.
The huge problem with this is that WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption while Messenger doesn’t. It only has the “secret” messages which you will have to turn on per conversation but is not turned on by default. Facebook has been saying they will bring encryption across their other messaging services so maybe this is something we’ll see before cross-platform messaging is enabled.
In any case, this doesn’t seem to be happening anytime immediately so we’ll have to wait and see what Facebook has up their sleeves. If they do make this happen, it will be a big win for them and a big problem for Apple and Google and their goal for global SMS messaging on their platforms.